May 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during OTA at Detroit Lions Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
I struggled to find a single positive scenario where the Detroit Lions roster had three quarterbacks in it, but could find none. Should they find themselves carrying these three again, in any order, it is a sign that the team has failed in a number of ways. Not only did they fail in developing Kellen Moore into a serviceable backup QB, but they continued to attempt to for four years without a plan should it not have worked.
If Dan Orlovsky is carried on the roster as a #2, it means Moore did not develop and the team should cut bait. If 0rlovsky is carried as the #3, it means Stafford is injured somehow to the point a third, non developmental QB is somehow necessary at the expense of another position. That’s the only explanation in that final case, by the way. Trust me, I tried to find any other.
Moore as the #2, 0rlovsky cut.
If Kellen Moore finally manages to get into a position where he can wear his uniform on game days, it is at worst a small win and at best proof that he’s developed. Should Moore win the #2 QB spot, as many believed he should have last season, then keeping 0rlovsky around doesn’t make any sense. The team is still in big trouble if Matthew Stafford goes down, but I’m sure no one will be signing Dan-0 anytime soon, so they can always just call him up and sign him, he won’t be doing anything else.
Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Abdullah, Bell, Riddick, Zenner, Burton
In this best case, Ameer Abdullah shows enough early to start ahead of veteran incumbent and fan favorite Joique Bell. I’m betting this happens before season end anyway, but the best thing for the Detroit Lions roster would be its early occurrence. Abdullah and Bell can provide a one, two rushing style that should be difficult to defend while Riddick brings a dynamic receiving element in various situations that can make the offense difficult to defend. Zenner is the best pure runner and receiver out of the remaining backs, but he’ll need to make the roster based on his special teams ability. In this scenario he does so and by seasons end is likely getting touches during games that set him up as an athletic successor to Bell.
Bell, Riddick, Abdullah, Winn, Igwanegu
You may recognize this running back stable as pretty much the same one as last season. Bush is replaced by Abdullah, Igwanegu is in for Collins. Joique Bell ran for 3.2 YPC through the first six weeks of 2013 and 2014. In both situations he finished strong but still ended the year under 4 YPC. The team can no longer afford to give a pass on a player for that poor of production. Also in this scenario, Abdullah is only able to take Riddick’s receiving snaps, while Theo Riddick becomes the teams speed rusher. Lacking the speed and vision to do much as a rusher, this is hardly ideal. Michael Burton was the top ranked fullback in this draft class and should easily beat out the former Eagle Igwanegu, but if for some reason he does not it is both a bad look and bad news.
Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Johnson, Tate, Moore, Fuller, Ross, Salas
Could there be a worse situation? In this scenario, Moore wins the third receiver spot, taking hundreds of snaps away from the developing Fuller. Ross finds his way back onto the roster, meaning the team can once again count on him to be one of the least efficient receivers in the NFL if he steps onto the field. The team opts to keep six receivers here and the last spot is taken by journeyman possession receiver Greg Salas. Salas is a long shot to make the roster, but this group would encompass all that went to Georgia to practice with Stafford.
Johnson, Tate, Fuller, Jones, Peacock
One of the more ambitious best case scenarios, this one would mean a whole lot of development happened in the best way possible. Fuller takes the outside receiver spot here, with Tate sliding inside on 3 WRS sets, but Jones and Peacock can work inside and allow the team to move their top three around. It’d be a crazy long shot to assume Fuller improved again, Jones is able to step up despite a lost rookie season, and Peacock coming in as a practice squader, but I can’t think of a better group if those things happen.
Ebron, Fauria, Pettigrew
While this counts as a worst case, it’s also not that terrible and also the most likely. The team keeps their role players at TE in their roles.
Ebron, Fauria, Pierce
Best case scenario is slightly different. In this instance, it isn’t so much about who makes the team (Casey Pierce in for Pettigrew), but the implication that the team was able to trade Pettigrew for something tangible. Having fielded offers early, it’s still a possibility he finds a new home in 2015 and that could only work out in the Lions favor.
Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford (9) throws a pass under protection by guard Larry Warford (75) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Reiff, Tomlinson, Swanson, Warford, Lucas Waddle (PUP), Williams, Robinson, Ramirez
Best case scenario and the Lions are looking at a pretty promising offensive line. The interior should be shored up and they’re getting some good looks to their younger guys early while Waddle is given time to heal. This also allows them to carry both Williams and Robinson, with more time to develop each.
Reiff, Ramirez, Swanson, Warford, Waddle Lucas, Vet OT, Tomlinson, Another IOL
If Tomlinson can’t beat out Manny Ramirez, who isn’t good, then we’re looking at problems. Swanson needs a steady presence next to him on both sides if there’s hope for him to develop quickly and having to make up for Ramirez is going to make it even more difficult for him. The team loses out on both Williams and Robinson’s development in this case, signing a vet OT that makes the roster (Cherilus?) while also rushing Waddle back from his injuries. The team also opts to keep another interior OL, stealing depth from elsewhere.
What do you think? Do these best and worst case scenarios do the Detroit Lions roster justice, or is there something I missed? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MathBomb!
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