LIONS INSIDER

FOUR DOWNS: What’s next for Kellen Moore?

Posted Aug 9, 2014

Four Downs following Saturday night’s 13-12 preseason victory over the Browns includes Kellen Moore’s big night, Corey Fuller’s progress, Eric Ebron’s versatility and Ryan Broyles’ step in the right direction.

FIRST DOWN: KELLEN FOOTBALL

Nate Burleson spent the last two seasons with Kellen Moore in Detroit. Now with Cleveland, Burleson had a different vantage point watching Moore in action Saturday night, but claims he was watching the same old Moore orchestra in a late, 13-12, come-from-behind victory.

“He’s one of those guys that can predict the movements of the receivers,” Burleson said of Moore. “His ball don’t seem like they have a lot of zip on them but they always find their place.

“I joked about him saying, ‘He’s psychic because he knows exactly where guys are and where (the ball) needs to be.' It’s the same thing he did when I was here. He would drop a ball in a pocket nobody saw but him and he’d have that kind of goofy smirk on his face like he did after the touchdown.”

The touchdown Burleson was referring too was the 21-yard dime to Corey Fuller with 1:05 left in the game that proved to be the game winner for the Lions.

The smirk, most definitely, a result of the satisfaction that comes with an 11-of-13 passing performance for 121 yards and the game-winning touchdown pass.

“It’s just fun to get out there and play,” Moore said. “It’s been awhile. Been almost a year. Anytime you get to play it’s fun and obviously a lot of guys took advantage of some opportunities and made some plays.”

But will Moore get more opportunities moving forward? Possibly an opportunity to compete with Dan Orlovsky for the backup quarterback spot?

“It’s something we’ll look at and just see,” head coach Jim Caldwell said when asked that question after the game.

“He functioned pretty well, I think, in the situation that he was in. I think Dan (Orlovsky) did some decent things too. There were a couple situations where they didn’t catch the ball for him so it looks like he maybe he didn’t move the ball as well as he was capable.

“But, I think there were some extenuating circumstances there too. Both guys are smart guys that you can see they understand the offense and function within it fairly well.”

Moore did his damage against the third-string defense, which shouldn’t be forgotten, but his play Saturday night could earn him an opportunity to see what he can do with the second unit, even if this is a small sample size in a large process.

“He’s cool as a cucumber,” starter Matthew Stafford said of Moore after the game. “That’s what he does.”

SECOND DOWN: BLOSSOMING RECEIVER

There are a lot of names in the mix for just a few roster spots at receiver on this team. Players are looking for opportunities to set themselves apart from the pack and catching the game-winning touchdown in the first preseason game is a pretty good way to do that.

Cory FullerWR Cory Fuller (Photo: Detroit Lions)

It’s been like night and day watching Fuller this offseason and in training camp. He's a completely different player than he was as a wide-eyed rookie.

He’s more confident and the second-year receiver out of Virginia Tech is certainly in the mix for one of those receiving spots behind Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.

Fuller has good size at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and he’s proven all offseason that he can stretch the field, which is what the Lions want in this offense.

Fuller was asked after the game what his biggest improvement from year one to two was and he admitted it was his ability to stretch the field more.

“I think that’s what everyone is saying,” he said. “I’m doing a better job of getting into my route, so I would definitely say stretching the field.”

The catch Fuller made to win the game Saturday night is the same catch he’s made over and over again at training camp.

“The quarterbacks have loved throwing to Corey and obviously he’s done a tremendous job,” Moore said. “He’s developed a lot. He’s a lot more physical and confident. He runs his routes confident and aggressively attacks the ball confidently. We’ve seen it all offseason and I’m sure you guys (media) have seen it at training camp.”

THIRD DOWN: EBRON’S VERSATILITY

We all knew the Lions were going to use rookie tight end Eric Ebron in a lot of different ways this season, but they might have been holding out on us when they were talking about four positions earlier in training camp.

Ebron lined up as an in-line tight end, fullback, H-back, slot receiver, wide receiver and was a motion man Saturday night vs. Cleveland.

“It wasn’t all of it,” Ebron said with a laugh after catching one pass for two yards on four targets. “It’s just the preseason. There are many more (positions) to come.

So where else could he go?

“I think I’m going to play quarterback one play,” he said jokingly. “We’ll see. Our playbook is open wide with the athletes we have and we’ll go from there.”

FOURTH DOWN: STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION

Is there anyone out there who isn’t ready for third-year receiver Ryan Broyles to have a good training camp and be a productive member of this football team moving forward?

It’s been well-documented how three major leg injuries have ended each of his last three seasons, including his senior year at Oklahoma.

The last time Broyles was on the Ford Field turf in a game situation he was diving away from a punt and suffering a torn Achilles tendon on a non-contact play.

Broyles battled back from injury, once again, and has been having a good camp thus far. He parlayed that into a nice preseason debut with three catches and 27 yards, two of those for a first down.

“Broyles did a nice job in the first half with some good catches and not only that – I think it was only three for 27 yards, but I think the run after the catch was key, converting some first downs,” Caldwell said.

Broyles is a savvy receiver and it’s never been a question about his talent, but rather his availability.

“Yeah, I think everyone wants a feel-good story,” Broyles said. “You know what I mean? I don’t take that into consideration. I know I want to be the player I used to be and I feel like I’m well on my way. So it’s just a blessing to be out there and run around feeling pain free."

If he’s stays healthy and keeps catching first down passes, he’s very much in the mix for a roster spot.