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News » Schwartz: QB issue can wait

Schwartz: QB issue can wait

Schwartz: QB issue can wait
ALLEN PARK -- When the Detroit Lions open their first minicamp under new coach Jim Schwartz on Friday, a position of keen interest will be quarterback.

While Daunte Culpepper is the starter, the position could undergo a lot of changes in the next couple weeks. The Lions could draft a quarterback -- possibly Georgia's Matthew Stafford -- with the first overall pick, and they could add a veteran player through free agency.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said a few weeks ago the team planned to sign a veteran backup, but that has not happened yet. Schwartz was asked why the team would not make such a move in time for the minicamp.

"It's hard to give reps to a lot of guys," he said. "We'll have a hard enough time trying to get reps to three quarterbacks as it is now. Let's revisit that after this minicamp."

The other two quarterbacks under contract with Detroit are Drew Stanton and Drew Henson. Unless the Lions take Stafford, though, it appears Culpepper will be the starter going into the 2009 season.

Detroit signed Culpepper halfway through its 0-16 season last year, and he reported about 30 pounds overweight. According to several Lions players, Culpepper has been in much better shape during the team's offseason workouts.

"I think you'll be surprised to see him physically," Schwartz said of Culpepper. "He's thrown the ball well. I've been pleased with him overall."

While receiver Bryant Johnson said Culpepper was down to about 260 pounds -- he weighed 292 when he signed with the Lions -- Schwartz did not want to talk about weight.

"I don't want to put a number on him right now," Schwartz said. "The weight's not as important right now, it's his progressing with his weight. His weight is significantly down, but I don't want to put a number down because it's going to fluctuate a little bit."

The Lions, meanwhile, have been busy bolstering their receiving corps. They claimed Will Franklin on waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday, and on Wednesday they brought in veteran Ronald Curry for a visit.

"I know that we had some feeling for (Franklin) here, he was a fairly high draft pick, so the situation where we are, we've got a camp coming up and we can claim him and we can see where he goes in this minicamp," Schwartz said. "We have some coaches on this staff who were in Kansas City last year, so they were able to bring some perspective to that."

Franklin was a fourth-round pick (105th overall) by the Chiefs last year but caught only seven passes for 83 yards and no touchdowns.

Curry started 23 games for the Raiders the past two seasons. He, however, is coming off a down year -- 10 starts, 19 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

In other news, Schwartz said Jeff Backus would practice only at left tackle in the minicamp. The Lions said they would consider shifting Backus to left guard if they drafted a left tackle with their first overall draft pick.

Also, Anthony Henry, who arrived in the trade with Dallas for quarterback Jon Kitna, will play at cornerback during camp.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 17, 2009

Brian Calhoun Name: Brian Calhoun
Position: RB
Age: 24
Experience: 3 years
College: Wisconsin
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