Detroit Lions: Is 2018 Jake Rudock’s last shot as the backup quarterback?

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 12: Matthew Stafford
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 12: Matthew Stafford /

The Detroit Lions backup quarterback spot is up for grabs. One player may not get another opportunity beyond 2018.

When the Detroit Lions signed quarterback Matt Cassel, that immediately put fellow competitor Jake Rudock on the hot seat. Entering year three, the incumbent backup has to fend off the competition once again.

In his first season as a backup, Rudock was a mixed bag. Against the Baltimore Ravens, he showed good rhythm and accuracy. That is until he faced pressure and threw a pick six.

Knowing his pro ability against first stringers is limited, the Lions added a long-time journeyman and experienced starter in Cassel. Not that the signing was much of an improvement, Detroit needed more reassurance at the position.

Comparing the two quarterbacks, the 36-year-old looks like the easy choice to win the battle of the backups. Not so fast. Experience in the system and higher upside could mean the 25-year-old prevails.

Even if Rudock wins the job, I don’t see him as the long-term backup. Like most good teams do if they’re fortunate enough, they keep three quarterbacks. The Lions could do this 2018 but as a backup’s backup is where I think he fits best.

The same can be said for Cassel. At this stage in his career, he’s not a guy you want carrying your team when the starter goes down. If Detroit wishes to sustain success in the event of a Matthew Stafford injury, a larger investment is required.

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The leash can only extend so far. After this season, I think the Detroit Lions will upgrade their second-string quarterback spot via the draft. Hopefully, the preseason is enough time to determine the right guy for the job. Rudock must act quickly, or he’ll either be regulated to third-string duty or cut loose sooner than expected.