Jeff Riger: Lions Signing Orlovsky For Back-Up QB Is Disappointing
By: Jeff Riger
It’s always nice when a former Lion comes back and plays again here in Detroit; unless you wanted somebody completely different.
The Lions have reportedly signed Dan Orlovsky to a one year deal to back up Matthew Stafford this season.
Of course, Orlovsky is best remembered for running out of the back of the end zone that resulted in a safety back in 2008 against the Vikings in Detroit’s 0-16 season.
But that’s the past.
Orlovsky as a backup makes perfect sense. He was drafted by the Lions in 2005 in the 5th round and he’ll be relatively cheap as reports indicate that he’ll make the veteran minimum of $855,000.
Orlovsky also played for new Lions head coach Jim Caldwell back in 2011 where he started 5 games for the Colts and even won a couple of them. So there is some familiarity there too. Despite throwing just 7 passes since that season in Indy and none in the last two years, Orlovsky seems fully capable of competing in a game if the situation calls for it.
He could be an adequate backup!
But, I wanted so much more …
I’m not a believer in Stafford. From his early career injuries to his late-last season mistakes, I’m not sold that Stafford is the answer that the Lions have been looking for. Yes, he threw for 5,000 yards in back to back seasons but, he also is a main reason that the Lions failed to take control of a favorable situation last year after they started 6-3. Stafford has been in the league for 5 seasons and the fan base has grown sick of waiting for him to become that consistent, franchise signal caller.
So when Detroit said good-bye to Shaun Hill, a very respectable backup himself, I had hoped that the team would go out and get a guy that could seriously challenge Stafford for playing time if need be.
Stafford is the starter in 2014, there is no doubt about that; his contract alone dictates so much. But what if he struggles, like he did in the final 7 games of the season where he threw 12 interceptions and made very poor decisions? There will be nobody else to fill his place and maybe help the Lions win some games.
Orlovsky isn’t that guy. He can’t lead a team to the postseason; he’s already had his chance to prove otherwise. How can you trust a guy that hasn’t thrown a pass in the last two seasons to be a savior of sorts if Stafford can’t get the job done?
Orlovsky can fill in if need be, he can’t lead the way.
That’s why I dislike this reported signing.
The Lions should have gotten a more trusted backup. They should have drafted a guy that they targeted and could develop. A player, that could eventually challenge Stafford for playing time if he struggles.
A big knock on the old regime was the coddling of Stafford. Jim Schwartz never said a critical thing about the QB and when he was flat-out-bad down the stretch there was nobody else that could give the team a spark and right the proverbial ship. Hill might have been able to, but no way Schwartz would have allow it to happen. Stafford obviously won’t have to worry about Orlovsky either.
With Orlovsky in the mix and 3rd stringer Kellen Moore under contract for next season, there is very little chance that the Lions will draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft.
Stafford is getting paid a lot so he’ll play, but if he struggles again he shouldn’t. I was hoping there could be an alternative, unfortunately there won’t be.