Matthew Stafford is just the latest Detroit Lions quarterback to be run off by the Lions or Detroit fans in their prime.
It’s a long list and includes the only man in the last 63 years to win a playoff game — Erik Kramer. In the early 1990s the Lions paraded a three-headed monster at quarterback that featured Rodney Peete, Andre Ware and Kramer.
Everybody was split. The fans had their man. The coaches took sides as did management and ownership. Kramer was never the man in the game plan. He played behind Pete whose Achilles was held together by duct tape. And there was a growing segment, including head coach Wayne Fontes, who wanted to play Ware ahead of Kramer even though Kramer passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns during a 38-6 playoff victory over the Dallas Cowboys in 1991.
One of Fontes most famous quotes came in 1992 when he said: “Rodney Peete is my number one quarterback, but I’m starting Andre Ware.”
Kramer never earned the trust and love of fans and the Lions coaching staff. He had enough of this place and signed with the Chicago Bears in 1994 despite a 10-5 record as Lions starter.
Kramer lacked football royalty. He was the mutt of the quarterback room having played for Los Angeles Pierce College and the Calgary Stampeders. Ware won the 1989 Heisman Trophy and was selected seventh overall in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Lions. Ownership pressured Fontes to keep him in the mix for the starting quarterback job.
Ware carried a cannon for an arm, but lacked touch. It was almost comical watching him blow out the chests of wide receivers and running backs on simple five-yard pass routes where a softer touch was demanded.
The Lions may have over compensated with Stafford while making sure nobody challenged him for his starter’s job.
Over the years the Lions paraded out Patrick Ramsey, Drew Stanton, Daunte Culpepper (when he was old and washed up), Jeff Garcia, Shaun Hill and Dan Orlovsky as back ups. That is not a list that screams “quarterback competition.”
Do you know who the Lions second-rated passer was in 2014? Punter Sam Martin.Find Terry Foster Podcast here: