INDIANAPOLIS –General manager Bob Quinn has ended any doubt about whether Jake Rudock's staus is rising on the Detroit Lions' quarterback depth chart.
Rudock will begin the offseason as the No. 2 quarterback behind starter Matthew Stafford with Quinn's confirmation Wednesday
that veteran backup Dan Orlovsky will not be brought back.
Speculation began recently that Orlovsky's tenure was over in Detroit when Orlovsky posted some cryptic tweets that he had been told by Lions management he will not be back.
Orlovsky's departure leaves the door wide open for Rudock to be the backup.
Quinn took Rudock in the sixth round of last year's draft, Quinn's first draft as the Lions' GM.
"Jake had a good rookie year," Quinn said at the NFL Combine. "He had a really good preseason. We made the decision to kind of give him every shot to be the No. 2 quarterback. In the offseason program, the OTAs, and hopefully the training camp, he's going to get every opportunity to earn that job."
After a solid preseason, Rudock was released on the final mandatory roster cut and signed to the Lions' practice squad when no team claimed him off the waiver wire. Rudock was signed to the active roster for the last five regular-season games, plus the playoff loss at Seattle.
He did not play in any games after the preseason. In the four preseason games, he threw four touchdown passes against one interception with a 58.8-percent completion rate and a passer rating of 96.3.
Three of Rudock's TD passes came against Buffalo in the fourth preseason game, when both teams rested their starters and played their reserves.
Although Orlovsky played sparingly in his 12-season career, which included two tours with the Lions, his experience and personality made him a strong presence with the team and a source of support for Stafford.
Not having Orlovsky back puts an opportunity squarely on Rudock's shoulders to show that he can be Stafford's backup.
Stafford is going into his ninth season. This will be the first year that he has not had a veteran as the backup. It was Daunte Culpepper when Stafford was as a rookie in 2009, followed by Shaun Hill (2010-2013) and Orlovsky (2014-16).
The Lions are certain to add a third quarterback, but Stafford, who turned 29 last month, clearly has become the elder statesman of the Lions' quarterbacks.
Quinn is not concerned about not having another veteran quarterback. He has expressed faith in Stafford's ability and leadership since being hired as GM in January of 2016.
"It does not really concern me," Quinn said. "My job is to get the best players available, and really the players need to adapt and adjust to who might be in their meetings with them. I have a great deal of respect for Matt.
"He understands that this is a business, so I think he'll be fine there."
View photos from Lions GM Bob Quinn's NFL Combine press conference in Indianapolis.