ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions were quick to pounce on quarterback Kellen Moore as a free agent after he slipped out of the NFL Draft. But that doesn’t mean that Moore will be around when the 2012 regular season begins.
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said after Friday’s rookie mini-camp workout that there is no guarantee Moore will make the team, even though the Lions think highly of him.
“We’re going to keep our best 53 players when we get out of (training) camp,” Schwartz said. “Last year, we kept three (quarterbacks). That doesn’t mean we’ll keep three this year. It doesn’t mean we’ll keep two.
“It’s really dependent on … who earns a spot on the 53-man roster.”
Moore struggled in his first Lions’ practice Friday, though as Schwartz openly admitted, the defense was well ahead of the offense because it takes some time for the skill-position players to get on the same page.
Moore and the Lions’ crop of receivers in for Friday’s practice did appear to have some timing issues — Moore misfired on several quick-out patterns and failed to connect on the majority of his deep balls. The lack of early success didn’t seem to faze Moore, though, as he spoke confidently and wore a big smile throughout his session with the media.
“It’s nice to get out there finally,” Moore said. “We’re done with that whole scouting and combine process and now you can just play football, which is obviously what we love to do.”
Moore, sporting the a red No. 17 jersey instead of his usual No. 11 (Stefan Logan’s number) worked out Friday with camp invitee R.J. Archer, a quarterback who went undrafted out of William & Mary last year and currently plays for the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League. Moore connected on the majority of the slant patterns and check-downs he had available during drills and 7-on-7 settings, but it’s clear he has a lot of work to do.
One job will be finding his way in the Lions’ system, which is quite a bit different than what he encountered at Boise State.
“We’re not going to call the game exactly the same for any quarterback, and it’s been that way since we’ve been here,” Schwartz said. “Matt Stafford and Shaun Hill have a little different skill set. Execution is what we’re looking for, the ability to execute our offense.”
Moore said he was excited to get to work with the Lions’ talented crop of receivers, eventually including second-round pick Ryan Broyles, who will not partake in this weekend’s activities. The former Boise State Bronco said that he talked with the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers, among other teams, but decided that Detroit was the best fit for him.
“I kind of quit watching the draft toward the end,” Moore said. “We were more doing phone conversations.”
The Lions “weren’t really in the quarterback market,” Schwartz said, despite losing third-stringer Drew Stanton in free agent, “but (Moore’s) talent was there, he’s got a good resume, and we think he’ll fit in well with us.”