Lions' Schwartz Doesn't Regret Starting Stafford

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz isn't second-guessing his decision to start Matthew Stafford.

"No second thoughts at all," Schwartz said Friday, a day after his rookie quarterback threw four interceptions in a 34-12 loss to Green Bay. "Him throwing the interceptions had nothing to do with his shoulder."

Stafford separated his left, non-throwing shoulder at the end of a Nov. 22 game against Cleveland, but after a penalty returned to throw a touchdown pass with no time on the clock to secure a 38-37 win over the Browns. It was one of five touchdowns for the first pick in the 2009 NFL draft, who became the second rookie quarterback to do so.

"He started feeling better the day before," said Schwartz, who added that Stafford missed less than a day's worth of practice time in the short week leading up to the team's annual Thanksgiving Day game.

TV cameras captured a heated pregame exchange between backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper and general manager Martin Mayhew before the Green Bay game. Neither commented after the game and Schwartz, who said Thursday he understood why the veteran signal-caller would be upset about not starting, only added Friday that any ill feelings have to blow over as the Lions (2-9) prepare for their next game, a Dec. 6 trip to Cincinnati.

Culpepper, who filled in for Stafford in early October while the rookie recovered from a knee injury, has thrown three interceptions and only one touchdown in two starts and one game as backup this season.

Schwartz did not know the severity of the knee injury tight end Brandon Pettigrew suffered early in Thursday's game, saying only there was swelling in the rookie's left knee after the game. Pettigrew, who underwent an MRI on Friday, caught the winning touchdown throw against Cleveland.

The 20th overall pick in the April draft is sixth among NFL rookie receivers with 30 catches for 346 yards and two touchdowns.

The coach said the Lions expect to have defensive end Dewayne White, who has missed the last two games with a sore toe, back when they travel to Cincinnati.


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