15 September 2010
I'm guessing this was the exchange between Jim Schwartz and the beat writers when asked if there were any change in Matthew Stafford's status.
Detroit media: So what's with Stafford's injury?
Schwartz: It's a shoulder injury.
Detroit media: Right. We just want to know Stafford's current status?
Schwartz: We're not going to share that intel.
Detroit media: How long is Stafford going to be out of the lineup?
Schwartz: That's a secret.
Detroit media: Ha! Seriously, what were the results of Stafford's visit to Dr. James Andrews?
Schwartz: There were no tests.
Detroit media: Come on, has anything changed with your starting quarterback?
Schwartz: If I told you, I'd have to kill you.
Detroit media: Really?
Detroit media: You don't mean that...do you?
Schwartz: Yes. Yes, I do.
Detroit media: So is Shaun Hill going to start instead of Stafford Sunday?
Schwartz: Yes. Die in a fire.
Detroit media: How long will Hill be the starter?
Schwartz: Until Stafford is healthy.
Detroit media: Which will be?
Schwartz: Didn't we go down this road before? Die in a fire.
I honestly feel for the beat guys. Getting any sort of even semi-important information out of Schwartz is neigh impossible. I doubt he would talk about Stafford's shoulder if waterboarded by the CIA, God forbid if only asked repeatedly by reporters.
Unlike Stafford, Schwartz DID have something to say about Hill.
"The reason we brought him here is for situations like this," Schwartz said. "Not only the second half of the opener, but if there was a situation where Matt wasn’t able to play on a Sunday, Shaun can go in. He gives an experienced player, and we have full confidence in him."
With Stafford hurt and out until Schwartz says he's back, at least it's not like last season. The Lions were handcuffed by a 270 pound Daunte Culpepper or a clueless Drew Stanton when Stafford sat. They now have a legit quarterback with winning cred in Shaun Hill ready to step in. He's the first quarterback strictly brought in to be a backup who can take over the team and (hopefully) play well since Dave Kreig in 1994.
If you remember, Kreig stepped in for an injured Scott Mitchell on a 4-5 Lions team, and led them to playoffs, posting a 5-2 record as the starter. I'm not expecting Hill to do the same, as the Lions of that era were honest to God playoff contenders. But there will be nowhere near the dropoff in talent from Stafford to Hill, compared to Lions' backup quarterbacks of the past decade or so.
Hill proved he can move the team with his arm during the infamous final drive in Chicago. Let's just hope Scott Linehan takes the shackles off of the offense. With Hill getting the majority of the practice reps, there's no longer any excuse for hancuffing the quarterback.
Free Hill, and the offense will be set free as well.
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