LIONS INSIDER

NOTEBOOK: Kellen Moore takes second-team reps

Posted May 27, 2015

Tim Twentyman covers all the news from Wednesday's OTA practice including Kellen Moore's second-team reps, depth at running back and more.

It’s only May, but the Detroit Lions quarterback rotation for the 2015 season might not be as cut and dry as Matthew Stafford No. 1, Dan Orlovsky No. 2 and Kellen Moore No. 3.

Moore took a number of second-team reps in Wednesday’s open OTA practice and it appears – at least early on this offseason – that the competition to be Stafford’s backup is an open one.

“I think any time that you get guys that are smart, that are hard workers, they continue to improve,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of Moore after practice.

“With him, he’s got a better grasp of the offense, he’s got a better feel for the guys that he’s playing with. I think the receivers in which he’s throwing to; he’s getting an opportunity to throw it to them a little bit more often, so there’s a bit of an uptake there. I think you see that in guys that have his kind of characteristics and make up.”

Kellen MooreQB Kellen Moore (Photo: Detroit Lions)

In typical Moore fashion, he downplayed the reps as simply getting in work.

“Everyone takes a little bit of everything,” he said. “That’s how it is. Dan and I kind of balance everything out. It’s all even.”

But the Lions did re-sign Moore to a two-year, $1.85 million contract with a $340,000 singing bonus this offseason. They obvously see something there.

Orlovsky re-signed for one-year and $1.05 million.

“We’ll see what happens,” Moore said. “Obviously, at the end of the day come the season everyone has a role and you do that role to the best of your ability. We’ll see what happens. Right now we’re just out here getting reps, which has been nice.”

Moore is one of the smartest quarterbacks in the league and has an uncanny ability to anticipate the action in front of him. He also says that year two in the system has him feeling very comfortable.

“I’ve been fortunate to be here three years and learned a lot,” he said. “ (I'm) year two in the system, like all of us, so we’re able to kind of take care of all those details and all that good stuff.”

OTA OBSERVATIONS

  • Veteran Manny Ramirez took first-team reps at left guard, while first-round pick Laken Tomlinson took second-team reps. It’s not uncommon for veterans to earn more reps than rookies early in the offseason while the young guys are still getting acclimated to the playbook and the NFL. Larry Warford was a third-teamer when he first arrived in Detroit after being a third-round pick in 2013.
  • Two young guys to keep an eye on over the next month are: second-year defensive tackle Caraun Reid and rookie sixth-round pick Quandre Diggs. Reid and Diggs got plenty of quality first-team reps, Diggs as the slot cornerback, and looked very good. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was impressed with both players when asked about them after practice.
  • The defensive line is a competitive place to conduct individual drills and veteran Darryl Tapp and second-year player Larry Webster had a nice battle on the two-man sled. The linemen use the sled to measure who gets off the ball and into a defender (the sled) quickest. Before their rep Tapp gave the youngster a friendly chest pump then proceeded to beat him.
  • Golden Tate took reps as a punt returner. Looks like Jeremy Ross, Ameer Abdullah, Lance Moore and Tate could all see reps there this summer.

RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE

Just like that, Joique Bell has become the veteran presence in the Lions’ running back room. After releasing Reggie Bush this offseason, Bell’s five seasons of NFL experience gives him senior status.

“That’s just kind of the way it is. If a guy is able to play well for an extended period of time, he’ll be an elder statesmen and you’ll have several young guys there behind you,” Caldwell said. “That’s the case with Joique right now, but he’s not able to do a whole out here now. But he’s out there, he’s trying to help coach the young guys, he’s doing all the things that he possibly can do to stay involved in it.”

Bell still hasn’t returned to practice after a couple offseason surgeries to relieve ailments he played through last season.

Theo Riddick, who’s entering his third year in the league, took the bulk of the reps at running back. Second-round pick Ameer Abdullah missed practice to take part in the NFL Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles.

In Bell, Abdullah, Riddick and whoever else might line up in the backfield, the Lions have options, and plan to use them all.

“Typically, now in this day and age, you generally don’t have just one guy at that position because it requires teamwork,” Caldwell said. “It requires more than one or two, so there’s a role for all of those guys. The thing about it, we don’t have two guys the same for the most part. They all have a little different sort of strength and we can utilize that.

“You know, Joique is a power back who also can get on the edge and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Theo (Riddick) is probably a little bit more of an edge guy. I’m not saying he can’t run inside, but he’s along the edge a little bit more. So, you know, those are different players. I think when you get a chance to see Ameer (Abdullah), you’ll kind of see what his style is as well. He’s pretty versatile.”

PRACTICE REPORT

Rookie cornerback Alex Carter didn’t participate in Wednesday’s OTA practice because Stanford is still in session. He might be out until commencement in mid-june.

Right tackle LaAdrian Waddle joined Bell on the sidelines as players still recovering from offseason surgery and not taking part in the workouts.

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch (ACL), tight end Joseph Fauria (ankle) and cornerbacks Bill Bentley (ACL) and Nevin Lawson (foot) only participated in individual position drills.