He’s undersized and undrafted, and most people think he doesn’t have the arm strength to contend in the NFL. Yet he’s done it for three years, never throwing a single pass in a regular season game. In fact, Kellen Moore hasn’t even been listed as active in any regular season game since he entered the league in 2012. But he has a chance to climb up the depth chart for the first time in his career, and he’s primed to do it.
I’ve always compared Kellen Moore to Case Keenum throughout their college careers. Both playing for teams not really in contention to win a national championship during their tenures as quarterbacks, yet successful enough to grab some spotlight on the national stage. Keenum was even considered a Heisman candidate for the stunning numbers he put up. Moore put up great numbers too, topping Keenum in terms of consistency and quarterback rating. However, both were good, if not great at their positions. Yet both came out of the 2012 NFL Draft without a team, fighting in training camp to solidify a position on their respective organization’s roster.
Keenum got his chance as a starter in the NFL, and was mediocre at best. Moore is still waiting for his chance, quietly holding the clipboard for Matthew Stafford until his days in Detroit are done. But he yields an opportunity to get one step closer to starting a game by passing Dan Orlovsky as backup for the Lions this season.
And for Jim Caldwell, that decision will not be an easy one. To be fair, the Lions aren’t even sure if they want to keep three quarterbacks, although they did last year. Thus, whoever wins the backup job, whether it be Orlovsky or Moore, will have a secure roster spot. While the other will not.
And although the backup position may not be that important in the eyes of fans, reality assures it is. All it takes is one play for Matthew Stafford to get injured, leaving the backup quarterback with starter duties. Earlier in his career, Stafford struggled with injuries, leaving room for doubt and question as to whether he could survive in the NFL. If injuries plague him this season, Orlovsky or Moore will be at center stage to take over for the franchise.
Thus, the answer is simple, Kellen Moore. Orlovsky has had trouble filling in at starting quarterback for multiple teams, including the Detroit Lions. His ceiling has been defined to average backup, where he has fulfilled his duties for multiple seasons.
Yet Moore has never been given a chance. And though it is too early to determine whether or not he will succeed if given the chance, he has shown potential and capabilities to do so. In fact, the Boise State alum has shined in every opportunity in the preseason and offseason. Throughout training camp his focus has been to improve, one that has reaped reward as he controlled the first team offense yesterday, even throwing a touchdown to Calvin Johnson.
His preseason stats are excellent, completing over 59% of his passes for eight touchdowns and only three interceptions. However, most of his reps were against second or thirdteam defenses, but that is completely out of his control. Moore has looked calm and collected in the pocket,
repetitively going through his progressions and utilizing solid footwork. He hasn’t been a player of the game the past few years, but more a student, something that has allowed him to excel when he gets the chance to perform.
Nonetheless, the Detroit Lions will spend a lot of their offseason evaluating the offense, like they should, as well as their quarterback battle. Whether they decide to take a shot with Moore at backup probably won’t be determined until the start of the regular season.
But if both his college and professional career have shown, Kellen Moore’s ready to take on any battle.