Training camp and preseason will be true test for Kellen Moore

Posted Jun 23, 2012

During one of the final team periods of the Lions’ mandatory minicamp last week, quarterback Kellen Moore took the reigns of the third-string offense in an attempt to move it downfield in a two-minute drill. It’s a team period quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill had just completed successfully with the first- and second-team offenses.

Moore calmly stepped under center and orchestrated a 4-for-5 throwing effort with a few runs mixed in, moving the offense down the field. His one incompletion was a perfectly thrown pass on a go-route to rookie receiver Patrick Edwards that was dropped.

Moore has shown to be proficient this offseason at moving the offense down the field. Whether or not that translates to training camp and the preseason will be the ultimate factor in Moore making the roster as the third quarterback though.

That, and beating out quarterback R.J. Archer, who the Lions signed Thursday to compete with Moore for the third quarterback job in training camp.

“He has grasped the offense very well,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of Moore. “He has command when he’s out on the field; he finds a way to get it done.

“He’s a guy that I think it’s well-documented he doesn’t have the strongest arm and he doesn’t have the prototypical size (6-0), but once you get out on the field, you don’t get any extra points for being 6-4. You get seven points for moving the ball and getting it in the end zone.

“That’s what he has done so far in training camp. He’s really smart, he doesn’t get rattled and he takes good command of the huddle. He’s been impressive so far. “

Moore doesn’t have the arm strength or stature of Stafford, and it’s tough to tell a whole lot of anything about a quarterback in the offseason when there’s no pads, no real pass rush and the defense isn’t allowed to be real physical with receivers, but that being said, Moore was able to move the ball down the field.

“He’s been doing a really good job,” Stafford said of Moore. “When the third guy comes in as a rookie and he gets in there and the pace of practice doesn’t drop a whole lot, that’s when you know he’s doing something right.

“He’s not making bad decisions; he’s just checking it down when it’s not there. He’s doing a great job of getting those guys lined up and helping them out. He’s done a good job, I’ve been impressed.”

The biggest challenge Moore faces to making the regular season 53-man roster might be out of his control completely. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew recently called this the most talented roster he’s had heading into training camp since he’s been here.

Can the Lions afford to keep a third quarterback on such a talented roster?

There’s a lot of time and a lot of football yet to be played before that decision has to be made, but it might ultimately be a factor.

“He’s got plenty of arm,” Stafford recently said when asked about Moore’s arm strength. “He’s not going to be Aaron Rodgers ripping it 65 to 75 yards down the field, but he’s got plenty of arm to wing it.

“He knows what he does best and how he can win and (he) obviously did it at the college level for a long time. He knows what he has to do to get his team in a position to win and it shows out on the field.”

We’ll see if that translates to training camp and if it’s enough to get Moore into one the top 53 spots on the roster.