Detroit Lions: Matt Cassel vs. Jake Rudock

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 1: Matt Cassel /

The Detroit Lions added a veteran to the quarterback room earlier this week. What does that say about Jake Rudock’s future with the team?

I have been suggesting that the Detroit Lions need a better backup quarterback for years. If Matthew Stafford goes down, my argument goes, the season goes with him. Stafford has had an impact on the Lions much like Peyton Manning had on the Indianapolis Colts. Imagine the 2016 season if Stafford had been knocked out for the year in the preseason. His eight come from behind victory performances were the difference between 9-7 and 1-15. Stafford drags the Lions kicking and screaming to victory more often than not.

Then on Dec 3, 2017, the unthinkable happened. Matthew Stafford left the game injured in the fourth quarter at Baltimore. We caught a glimpse of what the Lions offense might look like in the hands of Curtis Painter….. Sorry, I obviously meant Jake Rudock. In case you’ve forgotten what that looked like, HERE is a reminder. What do you need the backup quarterback to do? Literally, anything but failing to see a free blitzer before throwing a pick-six is acceptable.

I am not saying that Jake Rudock will never be a decent quarterback. I am saying that the Lions can not rely on it. Matt Cassel is no longer a good quarterback. I’m not sure if he ever was. His prime has passed, and it wasn’t all that great. However, Matt Cassel coming into the end of a game isn’t likely to get himself killed. He isn’t going to put the team in a spot where one of the high school quarterbacks on the roster gets to take snaps for the first time in ten seasons.

There is also the matter of resource management. The most important resource to a team during the season is time. No backup quarterback has spent significant time on the field for the Lions since 2010. Should the quarterback coach be spending his time developing Jake Rudock, or helping Matthew Stafford prepare? Should the backup quarterback be asking questions in the film room or pointing out something he has noticed in the other team’s tendencies? When the backup QB is running the scout team do you want someone that understands several different offensive systems of someone who is still trying to master one? There are advantages to even a bad but intelligent backup veteran quarterback.

Jake Rudock has received a message. He needs to improve. There have been a lot of people complaining that Matt Cassel is not very good. Using that logic, if Jake Rudock can’t beat Cassel out for the job what does that say about Rudock? Bob Quinn has shown before that he will keep younger players over veterans, but only if performance dictates that he should.

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Should the Lions trade Rudock? He was worth a sixth round pick when they drafted him and performed terribly in his very limited regular season action. I have doubts he would even make another team if he were cut. If a team were to make an offer, the Lions should absolutely take it. If the Lions look for offers, they will get the same answer they got regarding Eric Ebron, but for different reasons. While Ebron cost too much, Rudock may just not be very good.