Life as a new NFL quarterback is tough, especially ones that have to step into a situation like new Detroit Lions quarterback Jake Rudock. Drafted in the sixth round, expectations aren’t that high, yet the stakes are extremely high for Rudock.
While Rudock isn’t expected to come in and challenge for the starting job, or even the backup job in his first year, he will be trying to convince the team to carry a third quarterback on the roster this year. While a year on the practice squad wouldn’t be a terrible outcome for Rudock, it would have to be considered a disappointment.
However, the outlook on Rudock hasn’t been great, as of yet. Of course, with any rookie quarterback, especially those drafted on the third day, the transition to the professional level will come with its fair share hardships. No rookie quarterback, regardless of draft status, comes into training camp with a full understanding of scheme, NFL rhythm and a sense of his competition. However, back during minicamp, Rudock failed to impress the beat writers and Caldwell seemed lukewarm on the guy. "It’s a challenge for him," Caldwell said about his progression, while also admitting it takes time. "It takes a while. It takes guys that are starting, that get all the reps, that are playing in games sometimes two and three years to get it all right."
After the second day of training camp, Caldwell started with a compliment on Rudock. "He’s coming along, you know, today he had — he made some pretty nice throws out there," Caldwell said. However, he quickly hedged his bets on the rookie quarterback. "But, you know, he’s been challenged — I think — overall by the breadth of the offense and what he’s required to do."
Things are still extremely early in Rudock’s career and there’s no reason to believe he can’t turn things around. But for those expecting to see Rudock to come out and immediately challenge Dan Orlovsky for the backup quarterback job, you are probably asking too much of the youngster.
Still, Caldwell is optimistic. Throughout minicamp and OTAs, Caldwell praised Rudock’s intelligence and preached patience. On Saturday, he reiterated that point. "He’s a smart guy and he’s working on it."