Detroit Lions quarterback Kellen Moore got off to a rough start in the preseason. Last week against the Cleveland Browns, Moore went 4-of-14 for only 40 yards and an interception. To say the least, the reviews on his performance weren't good, and it made it pretty clear that he's got a long way to go to end up making the 53-man roster.
While Moore still has a long way to go to make the team, he looked much better on Friday night against the Baltimore Ravens. His numbers were better -- he went 10-of-15 for 96 yards -- and perhaps more importantly, he looked a lot more comfortable while in the game. He didn't throw the ball downfield at all and most of his completions were on short passes, but he was able to move the ball this way. While he did cost the Lions 11 yards with a fumble on one play where he simply lost the ball when he was dropping back, overall it was a better night for Moore.
As things stand right now, Moore has two weeks left to show coaches that he deserves to be one of the 53 players that are kept around going into the regular season. He won't get a ton of playing time next week with the starters expected to play into the second half, but he should see the field a lot in the Lions' preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills. That will be his final audition, and it will come on the night before the final cuts are made.
In all honesty, it's probably better for the Lions if Moore only shows a minimal amount of improvement in the coming weeks. I say that because if he puts together a couple of really solid performances, a team out there could decide that he's worth claiming off waivers should the Lions release him. This would prevent the Lions from keeping him around on the practice squad, which is really the best scenario.
Just based on what we've seen so far, Moore doesn't appear to be anywhere near ready to hit the field in a regular season game, and unless somebody gets hurt, the Lions shouldn't need him to play in a regular season game anyway. Most rookie quarterbacks aren't ready this early on in their career, and him being on the practice squad would allow the Lions to free up a roster spot and have a QB ready to sign in case of an emergency. For Moore, it would allow him to remain with the team and continue developing as a quarterback. The Lions aren't grooming him to one day take over for Matthew Stafford, but it would be nice if they turned him into a solid backup option for when Shaun Hill decides to move on in the future. And considering Hill is not exactly known for his arm strength or athletic ability, he's a good player for Moore to learn from.
At the end of the day, Moore is simply a developmental quarterback who won't step foot on the field for the Lions in an actual game in 2012 unless disaster strikes at the top of the depth chart. I certainly get why there is a lot of focus on him given his career at Boise State, but for the Lions, the real importance is on figuring out if they will be able to stash him on the practice squad or if they will have to carry him on the roster. In all likelihood, he is going to end up on the practice squad, and that's perfectly fine. Only one or two players at most each season go from being undrafted to making the Lions roster later in this year, and from the very beginning the best-case scenario for Detroit has been getting him to the practice squad for 2012.