Lions GM Martin Mayhew Discusses Decision To Keep Two QBs; ‘Meritocracy’ of Roster-Making

By Ashley Scoby
@AshleyScoby

NFL cut day has come and gone, and perhaps the biggest storyline coming out of the Lions’ decisions over the weekend was the fact that they were keeping only two quarterbacks on the roster.

It’s the first time under general manager Martin Mayhew’s watch that the team hasn’t kept three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Starter Matthew Stafford and backup Dan Orlovsky both made the cut, but Kellen Moore was sent packing. Moore also opted not to join Detroit’s practice squad and instead joined the Dallas Cowboys as a practice player.

“Obviously, guys have to make decisions that are based upon what they see in terms of their future and things of that nature,” said head coach Jim Caldwell of Moore’s decision to sign with Dallas. “It’s going to happen. It’s competition for guys that can play like him and so obviously, he was out there on the market and had an opportunity he liked.”

For the Lions, it was all a numbers game as to why Moore wasn’t on the 53-man roster to begin with. According to Mayhew, the team needed depth at other positions, and chose to pad the roster at places other than quarterback.

“You got to look at your roster and kind of see where you need depth and in this situation, we had some guys that were injured at different spots, which caused us to carry a few extra guys,” he said. “So we took an extra linebacker in that mix. Probably an extra defensive lineman there due to injury, so you really got to look at it each year on a year-to-year basis, I think, and this year it made sense for us to go with two.”

At linebacker, DeAndre Levy missed Monday’s practice for the second week in a row due to an undisclosed injury. Caldwell said he couldn’t be certain that Levy would play in the Lions’ season opener at San Diego. Kyle Van Noy has also dealt with injuries the last couple of weeks, but has been practicing the last few days. Detroit kept seven linebackers on the 53-man roster.

And at defensive lineman, tackle Caraun Reid sat out Monday’s practice as well, thanks to a high ankle sprain that he suffered in Detroit’s preseason loss to Washington. Ten defensive linemen made the active roster this weekend.

In addition to the numbers game, Mayhew said that some players were cut simply because they didn’t show enough, like in the case of tight end Joseph Fauria.

“It’s the meritocracy as I said before,” Mayhew said. “I think you got to perform at a high level consistently all the time. Like all these guys that have made it, they all made it by being available, by performing at a high level, by being consistent in their performance and earning their way onto this football team.”

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