One of the big storylines during training camp last year revolved around whether or not quarterback Kellen Moore should make the 53-man roster. At the start of the preseason, he didn't look like he was one of the top 53 players on the Detroit Lions' roster, but by the end of August he had done enough to survive the final round of cuts. He spent the entire 2012 season on the team, although he wasn't active for even one game.
This year, the Lions have Moore and Thaddeus Lewis battling to be the third quarterback on the depth chart. We know Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill will make the 53-man roster as the starter and backup, but it's not clear who will be the third quarterback. Actually, it's not clear if the Lions will even keep a third quarterback this year. Via MLive, Jim Schwartz said this on Sunday when asked about the topic:
"That decision will come at the end of training camp," Schwartz said. "How that works out with numbers, we generally don't go into training camp saying 'x' number of wide receivers are going to make it. We have a certain number of players, and once you get past that, you want the best 53.
"You have figure out a way to get the best 53. It becomes more talent at that point than numbers at a position."
We pretty much went through this same discussion last summer. At the time, keeping Moore around made sense in that he provided extra insurance in case Stafford or Hill suffered a serious injury. Also, the Lions clearly liked the idea of having him around to groom as their future backup, and they apparently didn't want to go the practice squad route and let another team potentially sign him.
This year, you can pretty much make the same arguments for or against the idea of keeping Moore or Lewis on the 53-man roster. Having a third quarterback on the roster gives you added insurance in case of an injury, and it also eliminates the risk of trying to get the third quarterback to the practice squad. On the flip side, keeping a third quarterback takes away a spot for an extra player at another position. Especially this year, keeping an additional running back, wide receiver, tight end or defensive back could be much more valuable than having a third quarterback.
What do you think the Lions should do? Personally, I'm a big fan of going with only two quarterbacks. I get that there would be a risk with trying to put someone like Moore on the practice squad considering other teams could add him, but I'd rather the Lions do that than risk losing a young player at another position. With only two QBs on the 53-man roster, the Lions could have someone ready to be signed from the practice squad in case of an injury, and if there aren't any injuries, you don't have a third quarterback taking up a roster spot all year despite not being active for a single game.
Considering the Lions kept Moore on their roster in 2012, I'd be shocked if they go with only two quarterbacks this year, regardless of what Schwartz said about how the numbers game works. I'd be pleasantly surprised if they opt for the two-QB route, but I'll believe it when I see it.
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