Will Lions keep third QB? Kellen Moore not worrying yet

Posted Jun 11, 2014

Kellen Moore knows the only things worth worrying about are the ones he can control: learning a new offense and performing when called on.

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has been a part of NFL teams that have kept three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster heading out of training camp.

He’s also been on teams that had an "ironman" as a starter and only needed two. He's even made stops where keeping four quarterbacks was part of the conversation.

The point is, Caldwell doesn’t have a hard-and-fast rule when it comes to how many quarterbacks the Lions might keep on the roster heading into the regular season.

Kellen MooreQB Kellen Moore (Photo: Gavin Smith)

“Every team’s different, so we’ll look at this one as we start to narrow it down and we’ll see where we are,” Caldwell said. “It just depends on the roster. It depends on position. I mean, there are a lot of things that go into it.”

That leaves the roster status of one Kellen Moore a bit in flux, but Moore's used to that.

Signed as an undrafted rookie in 2012, he's earned a spot on the 53-man roster each of the last two seasons out of training camp as the No. 3 quarterback behind Matthew Stafford and then backup Shaun Hill.

Moore again finds himself at No. 3 behind Stafford, and now Dan Orlovsky, but he’s not worried about all that right now. Moore, the son of a football coach, knows the only things worth worrying about are the ones he can control, which are learning a new offense and performing when he's called on.

The rest of it will fall into place.

“I'm feeling good,” Moore said of his comfort level heading into year three. “Like all of us, trying to get comfortable with the verbiage (of the new offense).

“Now that we’ve gone through it a few times, it’s more reaction than thinking and it’s coming along.”

Moore performed well in minicamp practice Tuesday, threading a completion to tight end Jacob Maxwell in 7-on-7 drills and showing real command of the offense during his reps.

“Smart, coach’s kid, dedicated football player who loves to play the game,” Caldwell said when asked what he liked about Moore. “He’s working to improve all the time. He really works extremely hard.”

But Moore's ultimate future as a Lion will not only depend on how well he plays in training camp and the preseason, but how the bottom of the roster ultimately shakes out.

It is, however, a dicey proposition entering today's NFL season with just two quarterbacks.

“It’s tough to go into these days, this day and age, with the way in which our game is, without a third quarterback,” Caldwell admitted. “It’s tough. I mean, it’s difficult, but like I said, I’ve had a couple places where we’ve had a couple ironmen. We carried two and had one on the practice squad, but we’ll see what happens.”

Moore has completed 56 percent of his passes (71-of-126) for 735 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions in eight preseason appearances. That shakes out to a 76.7 passer rating.

He's never been active for a regular-season contest.

Moore will also have to beat out rookie James Franklin for the No. 3 spot, which should be a good competition to follow through training camp. Franklin, who the team signed as a undrafted rookie following this year's draft, is also practice-sqaud eligible. Moore is not.

Stafford has played in all 16 games each of the last three years, proving to be quite durable after missing 19 games due to injury his first two seasons. Does that fit Caldwell's definition of an "ironman?"

There are certainly hurdles Moore will have to cross to earn his spot on the 53-man roster, but he's smart and he's the winningest quarterback in NCAA history.

It’s seems like a losing bet to count him out.