Stafford takes all reps in practice with Culpepper, Stanton hurt

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- For one day, there was no question that Matt Stafford was the Detroit Lions' first-string quarterback.

Injuries to both Daunte Culpepper (foot) and Drew Stanton (knee) meant Stafford was Detroit's only healthy quarterback at Monday's practice.

"It was fun -- it was like being back in college," said Stafford, who took every snap for Detroit on Monday. "I got to do everything -- even play Peyton Manning on the show team."

Coach Jim Schwartz, however, cut the session short. He said he doesn't know if he will have either Culpepper or Stanton for Thursday's final preseason game in Buffalo, or if he will have to find an emergency quarterback.

Stafford, the first pick in April's draft, has been battling Culpepper for the starting job, with Stanton solidly entrenched at No. 3. Nothing changed during Saturday's 18-17 win over Indianapolis, but the situation got strange over the weekend.

First, Culpepper cut the top of his foot at home Saturday night. The wound required eight stitches and left him unable to practice on Monday.

"He sort of stubbed his toe, and when the skin stretched, it tore behind his middle toes," Schwartz said. "If you or I had done it and gone to the hospital, they probably would have put in two or three stitches, but they wanted to secure it tightly, so they put in eight. We'll have to wait and see about his status for Thursday."

The situation got worse when Stanton reported on Monday with a badly swollen left knee. The team was awaiting the results of an MRI test.

The lack of quarterbacks led Schwartz to remove about 20 percent of the plan for Monday's practice.

"We advertised for a quarterback on Craigslist, but no one answered, so we just had Matt," he said. "We cut some things, because we didn't want to work him too hard. It isn't just the passing, but all the dropbacks and everything else. He had worked up a pretty good sweat by the time we finished."

Stafford laughed when asked if he had planned to eliminate his competition.

"No -- this isn't a situation where I'm pushing people down the stairs," he said. "I knew about Daunte when I got here, but I hadn't heard about Drew. It was a bit of a surprise."

Schwartz could use one of his current players -- Nick Harris or Derrick Williams -- as an emergency quarterback. Harris seemed startled by the idea of switching from punter to quarterback.

"I've never played quarterback in my life -- well, I guess I ran the scout team a few times at Cal, so I could run the option and some sweeps," Harris said. "I do know how to get under center, though, and I know all three of our plays. I would probably just throw to Calvin Johnson on every play.

"I'm not scared, though. Write that down: Nick Harris is not scared."

The Lions also worked out safety Lawyer Milloy on Monday, but Schwartz said that a signing wasn't imminent. He also said he was happy with both Daniel Loper and Manny Ramirez's performances against the Colts as they battle for the starting left-guard spot.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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