Sep 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Kellen Moore (17) during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions: Third Quarterback Battle May Be Irrelevant

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The third quarterback position has always been something of intrigue for Detroit Lions fans. With Matthew Stafford having battled inconsistencies throughout his career, it doesn’t hurt to have the coaching staff develop a young quarterback.

Even if Stafford puts those uncertainties to rest and becomes a consistent quarterback for the Lions, they could develop a quarterback and then trade him for assets. Whether those assets consisted of players or draft picks, it would be a win-win.

Since the Lions drafted Stafford, they have not drafted another quarterback. However, they have signed multiple undrafted quarterbacks, including current third string quarterback Kellen Moore and 2014 undrafted free agent signing, James Franklin.

Moore was always an interesting prospect given his success in his four years at Boise State. In those four years, he easily cemented himself as one of the greatest collegiate quarterbacks in history. But college success doesn’t guarantee NFL success and concerns regarding Moore’s ability to flourish at the pro level have mostly been proven true.

As for Franklin, he had some success at Missouri, but his true evaluation will come in the preseason.

As unfortunate as it sounds, we may actually never see Moore move up the Lions depth chart, nor see Franklin be given a fair shot to make the Lions roster. The reason behind that is because that third quarterback roster spot could be used on somebody who will actually make an impact for the team. Fewers teams actually carry three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster than ever before. Perhaps the Lions join the trend this year.

Given the amount of talent and depth the Lions have in other areas, it might make more sense to use that roster spot on a young player who can contribute as a role player or on special teams while he develops.

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Tags: Detroit Lions James Franklin Kellen Moore Lions

  • George_Johnson

    I think the sports writers that write these articles, don’t have a clue as to what is really going on. First of all I think it is hard to not keep a 3rd string QB on the 53 man roster. The reason being that you are only one small injury away from the 1st string or 2nd string QB being hurt which then requires the 3rd string QB to suit up for games, know all the plays and be ready to step in and be productive. If you went into a game with only one QB you would be crazy. The 1st and 2nd string QBs could get hurt in practice or even off the field. Even Caldwell has said it is hard to get by with only keeping 2 QBs on the 53 man roster.

    The second issue is that K Moore should and probably will be competing for the 2nd string QB position not the 3rd. The reason being is 1) he is in his third year and should have improved and continued to develop from last year, 2) he looked good last year in practices and preseason games, 3) he should have improved his arm strength some by now, 4) he is likely to fit well in a New Orleans style playbook, 5) the coaches are likely to really like him because of his work ethic, ability to quickly learn, his outstanding skill set, and his knowledge of being a QB.

    The third issue is that Franklin has zero chance to outplay K Moore or Orlovsky in practices and preseason, so at the most Franklin will make the practice squad. In future years as Franklin develops he might be able to be the 3rd string QB.

    • Herman Moore

      Entering the 2012 regular season (couldn’t find anything for 2013),13 teams had only two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. There were 18 teams
      carrying three quarterbacks, and one team carrying four.

  • Herman Moore

    Moore will never be a starter in the NFL. He’s on the roster because Scott Linehan is a Boise State fan. Moore has one more year of practice squad eligibility, but now that Linehan is gone, expect Moore to follow.

    • George_Johnson

      Herman Moore: It is news to me that Scott Linehan is a Boise State fan. I knew he saw some potential in Moore, probably followed his career and I am sure he had input into the decision to sign him to a 3 year contract. As I said most people underestimate Moore because he does not look the part. I think people especially at this stage of Moore’s career should disassociate Moore from Boise State. I personally have never been a Boise State fan but I have followed Moore’s career since high school. As I said from everything I have read about him and seeing him play in most games of his career, I think he could be a starter or solid backup in the NFL if he improves his arm strength some. His biggest problem will likely be getting the chance to ever play because of his size and arm strength. As I also said, I don’t think Moore will be cut this year.

      • Herman Moore

        George, I know you’re a fan of Moore, because you promote him on every Lions board, but consider this: if he has so much potential, why was he not drafted? He’s been on the Lions practice squad for two years, where any team in the league can poach him, but none have. His arm strength has improved, but not enough. He’s too small. There are countless guys who dominated at the college level who simply do not have the requisite physical attributes to play in the NFL. Moore is one of those guys.

        • George_Johnson

          Herman Moore: He was not drafted because of his small size, lack of athleticism and lack of a cannon for an arm. Had he been the prototypical size with a strong arm, he might have been the # 1 draft pick over A Luck and A Griffin. Everyone recognized he had some special talent/skills but many NFL draft experts did not think he could play in the NFL because of his weaknesses. They especially thought his lack of arm strength would not allow him to make all the throws required to play in the NFL.

          He has not been on the practice squad. He was on the 53 man roster for the last two years where other teams cannot pick him up.

          K Moore appears to be better than those countless guys who dominated at the college level who could not play in the NFL. He may be one of the best QBs ever at accuracy, anticipation and decision making. He is also very good at poise in the pocket, avoiding sacks/interceptions, has a quick release, can read defenses very well, and can throw accurately on a roll out. His college coach said he was the best pocket passer he had ever seen. I didn’t make this up. The real question is, are his strengths so strong that he can overcome his weaknesses to start or be a solid backup in the NFL? Only time will tell. From what I know I think he can especially if he can improve his arm strength some. He would fit best in some type of west coast offense with short to intermediate passes all over the field to whichever receiver the defense did not cover adequately. He will likely be picked up by another team if Detroit cuts him. He pretty much proved he could play in the NFL last year based on his body of work in practices and preseason games. He should be better this year so I expect more.

        • George_Johnson

          Herman Moore: I might add that sometimes the NFL experts get it wrong. Tom Brady is an example as he was a late round draft pick who has become one of the best QBs in the NFL. I am not saying K Moore will be the next Tom Brady, I am just giving you an example of where the NFL experts got it wrong so you can’t always rely on what they say. There are many other examples, including Russell Wilson and Seattle’s star corner back. ( I forgot his name). What seems to have happened with Moore is that many of the NFL draft experts did not think K Moore could play in the NFL, therefore he was not drafted. The sports writers have piled on every since then. Whenever they write about Moore, it is mostly negative. The previous Lions coaches however were much more positive about Moore and thought he was developing well. The general public is also negative about Moore when they see him play as he looks to small, boyish and does not have a strong arm or ideal mechanics.

    • Ron Dulaney

      @herman moore
      who died and made you head Oracle of Football Futures?
      Kellen Moore is a Detroit lion because he chose the Lion’s offer over 3 others including the Rams and the Dolphins. He has remained a Detroit lion because he has out played any competition they’ve brought in for the last 2 years.
      ….oooh! OOOH! Wait! I feel a prognostication coming:
      Herman Moore and all his cronies eat their words as Kellen Moore named starter for…

      • Herman Moore

        Your prognostication will turn out to be gas pains, grasshopper. Unless perhaps you have confused the NFL with the Arena League, where Moore could probably start tomorrow.

        • Ron Dulaney

          Herman, Herman, Herman, when will you boys ever learn to stop predicting Kellen’s future?
          After 2 1/2 years, don’t you guys get tired of us calling you on all your WRONG crystal-balling bawling?
          FYI: Kellen was NEVER on the Practice Squad. He was obviously considered too valuable and so was kept safely on the 53 man roster, for BOTH years.
          Oh, and if anyone is going to experience “gas pain” it will be you and yer band of pathetic prophets when you’ve consumed just a portion of that bilious pile of misbegotten predictions you keep spewing. Bon appetit, y’all!

          • Herman Moore

            Wrong about what? Moore has not started, and he’s unlikely to. Except maybe in the aforementioned Arena League, or the CFL if he’s lucky. If the entire NFL “undervalues” a player, maybe you’re wrong, and they’re right? Isn’t there a chance that all these professional scouts, coaches, and GMs know what they’re doing? Just a thought. My bad on the practice squad thing. In fact, his two seasons on the 53 man make him ineligible for anyone’s PS. Better hope the Lions decide to carry three QBs…

          • Ron Dulaney

            Sure, because all those NFL experts have NEVER been wrong before. Just ask Doug Flutie, Kurt Warner, JaMarcus Russell, Vince Young, Ryan Leaf, Tim Tebow, ad nauseum…