Jake Rudock has succeeded in keeping his focus on running the Detroit Lions' offense. He hasn't gotten distracted by anything that might indicate where he stands on the quarterback depth chart or the approaching deadline to cut the roster to the regular-season limit.
It seems like a tough task, especially for a player in Rudock's situation. He's in a tight competition with Matt Cassel to be the backup to Matthew Stafford.
With a strong likelihood that the Lions will keep only two quarterbacks, as they have the previous two seasons under general manager Bob Quinn, there's a lot at stake for Rudock and Cassel.
For Cassel, it's a chance to add a season to a career that already has spanned 13 seasons with six teams.
And for Rudock, it's an opportunity make the Lions' roster for a third year and solidify his status with the team that drafted him in the sixth round in 2016.
Where does Rudock stand with cutdown day approaching?
Good question – for somebody else.
"I'm not really looking at that yet," Rudock said after Monday's practice.
Rudock's experience in football – college and pro – has taught him to worry about what he can control. That's his preparation and performance. Someone else will make roster decisions, based on how he has played.
He stays in the moment, whether it's practice, meeting time or gameday.
"I don't think you have a choice," he said. "You have too many things to get carried away. It's kind of like the first week. Why worry about Week 3? It's right here, right now.
"I think that's a football thing. The guys in this locker room, we learn that over time. Stay in the moment. Stay in the here and now. Don't get worried about the future. Just worry about now."
Rudock has directed the offense on three fourth-quarter touchdown drives in the last two games.
Two weeks ago he ended a nine-play, 77-yard drive with an 11-yard TD pass to TJ Jones, then finished off a 14-play, 71-yard drive with a one-yard sneak to close out the scoring in a 30-17 loss to the Giants. The fact that it was a one-sided loss took some meaning out of the two drives.
It was a different situation in Friday night's 33-30 road win over the Bucs. It was a comeback win and capped a rally from a 27-6 third-quarter deficit.
In the game-winning drive, Rudock completed eight of nine passes for 54 yards and scrambled once for a six-yard gain. Rudock hit tight end Marcus Lucas with a five-yard pass for the winning touchdown with 30 seconds left.
Rudock took advantage of the Bucs' defense by working the edges and throwing underneath. His two longest completions in the drive were both nine yards. The offense moved methodically in the 10-play, 60-yard drive.
"They were dropping into coverage," Rudock said. "We had some time on the clock (2:40 left when the Lions took over at their 40).
"It was good for us. We just worked our way downfield."