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Lions QB Stafford will rest shoulder vs. Ravens; Culpepper to start

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions plan to rest rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford's banged-up, non-throwing shoulder for at least one game.

They don't expect to shut him down for the rest of the season.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday that Daunte Culpepper will start this weekend against the Baltimore Ravens and Stafford likely will be the No. 3 quarterback.

Stafford aggravated his left shoulder during last Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

"If he hadn't taken that hit in the fourth quarter of the Cincy game, we wouldn't be having this discussion," Schwartz said. "It was a very similar hit to the one that he took in the Cleveland game, and we want to avoid the situation where it becomes something chronic.

"Structurally, everything is still on course. It's sore, and we just wanted to avoid a continuing cycle of come back, get hit, come back, get hit. We'll give it time to rest and put it behind him."

Schwartz acknowledged there's a chance that Stafford will miss more than one game.

Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, gained some fame after he hurt the shoulder Nov. 22 against the Cleveland Browns. He put himself back in the game after being injured and threw his fifth touchdown pass on an untimed play to win it.

Stafford was miked for sound during the game, and NFL Films president Steve Sabol called it "the most dramatic player wiring ever."

Stafford has thrown 13 TDs and 20 interceptions in 10 games this season.

Stafford missed two games with an injured right knee. Culpepper threw one TD pass and two interceptions in his two starts, both of which were losses.

Schwartz said the team didn't consider starting third-stringer Drew Stanton against the Ravens.

"Daunte is our backup quarterback," the coach said. "We've had no change in our depth chart. We have a lot of confidence in Daunte."

Schwartz, a first-year head coach, went against his previous policy of announcing only the required information about injured players.

"It is kind of against the grain from the way we've done things in the past, but there are some benefits to doing it this way also," he said.

Schwartz told Stafford and Culpepper about his plans and wanted both to avoid answering questions about the situation this week.

When Stafford made the start against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving, Culpepper looked like he was upset because he expected to play.

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