When Jim Schwartz was head coach of the Detroit Lions, they always kept three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. At one point, they had an excellent trio of Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton, and each of those three quarterbacks actually started and led the Lions to victory at least once in 2010. At that time, because of injuries, having three quality quarterbacks on the team was important.
In recent years, the Lions luckily haven't had to rely on their backups at quarterback. Stafford started every game from 2011-13, and Hill barely even got any playing time as the backup quarterback during that span. What's more, Kellen Moore, who has been the Lions' third-string quarterback since 2012, hasn't even dressed for a single regular-season game during his NFL career, which shows just how much stability the Lions have had at the quarterback position as of late.
This year, the situation at quarterback is already a bit different with Dan Orlovsky replacing Hill, who signed with the St. Louis Rams this offseason, as the Lions' backup. The situation could change even more if the Lions decide to keep only two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, which is what the Indianapolis Colts did at times when Jim Caldwell was with them. Caldwell was actually asked about this very topic on Tuesday, but he didn't exactly provide any concrete answers about what the Lions might do.
"Every team's different. I've been on some teams where we only had two. I've been on teams where we had three. There have been certain situations where we thought about having four, so it just depends. Every team's different, so we'll look at this one as we start to narrow it down and we'll see where we are. It just depends on the roster. It depends on position. I mean, there are a lot of things that go into it. Sometimes you find that you've got a couple guys that you think will really be able to help you and help you a lot sooner, then you consider it."
Although Caldwell was mum about the Lions' plans, he seemingly suggested that, at least on a general level, he prefers three quarterbacks instead of only two.
"It's tough to go into these days, this day and age, with the way in which our game is, without a third quarterback. It's tough. I mean, it's difficult, but like I said, I've had a couple places where we've had a couple ironmen. We carried two and had one on the practice squad, but we'll see what happens."
For the Lions, Stafford is the starter and Orlovsky is the backup at quarterback. Moore is currently third on the depth chart, and he's hoping to beat out undrafted rookie James Franklin to maintain that spot. That will be an interesting position battle to watch during training camp considering the winner of that competition might not even get a spot on the active roster. Moore and Franklin are going to be competing against each other first and foremost, but they're going to be competing against the rest of the team as well in order to convince the Lions to keep three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster.