Former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore likely will get his most extensive playing time of the preseason Thursday — a chance for him to show the Detroit Lions, and perhaps another team, that he belongs on an NFL 53-man roster this season.
Moore has spent the past two seasons on the Lions’ 53-man roster as the third-string quarterback. However, many teams don’t keep three quarterbacks and new coach Jim Caldwell has a history of sticking with two.
Moore is behind star Matthew Stafford and veteran backup Dan Orlovsky on the depth chart. Orlovsky and Moore are expected to play about half the game each Thursday at Buffalo (5 p.m.). The replay is scheduled to air on NFL Network at 5 a.m. Sunday.
Moore is 18-for-23 for 189 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions this season. He leads the team this preseason in completion percentage (78.3), yards per attempt (8.2) and rating (115.4).
Orlovsky is 29-for-46 for 316 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. His rating is 83.2.
“We'll take a look at them, see how they do, see how they manage the offense, how they handle it, see how they move the ball, see how well they throw it. There'll be a pretty good opportunity to show themselves,” Caldwell told the Detroit media this week.
Moore’s approach, according to the Detroit Free Press: “Take advantage of preseason games, play well, and wherever the chips fall, they fall and move on.”
The Lions must cut their roster to 53 players by 2 p.m. Saturday. The Free Press reports that in three previous years as a head coach and one as an offensive coordinator Caldwell kept three quarterbacks only once. The Lions also have extra pressure on their roster because of a short-term injury to linebacker Kyle Van Noy and the need for a fullback in Caldwell’s offense.
“You know, we have to look at it, because every situation is absolutely different,” Caldwell said of keeping a third quarterback. “Oftentimes you find that long-held theories and beliefs don’t always hold true depending on the squad, so you’re looking at that.
“Sometimes, you have a player that you consider of more value to you at another spot that you’d like to keep. So, therefore, maybe you take one less quarterback or you figure that there’s a quarterback that’s really been doing extremely well and we’d like to have him as our third and he can help us. So, you have to make a decision based on that.”
If the Lions cut Moore, he will be able to sign with any team in the league if there’s interest. Or he could join the Lions’ practice squad, which would keep him in Detroit but put a huge dent in his pay.
“We’ll see,” he said, according to the Free Press. “If it’s third string here, you want to be the best third-string quarterback in the NFL ... and succeed. If you’re in a different role, you’re in a different role and you adjust then.”
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