Allen Park — The media scrum was gathered around the Michigan quarterback drafted in the sixth round, looking for a good quote.
No, not Tom Brady.
Try Jake Rudock.
The backup quarterback was asked Wednesday about the similarities between the two former Wolverines, as the Lions prepare for Friday’s exhibition matchup against the New England Patriots at Ford Field.
It’s unclear whether Brady will even play for the defending Super Bowl champions, but Rudock is almost sure to get some extended work after starter Matthew Stafford gets a good look in the third preseason game.
Besides playing at Michigan and their draft position, Rudock and Brady have almost nothing else in common, with Rudock just learning the ropes in his second season in the league. He’s still finding his way, but hasn’t had the opportunity to even shake hands with Brady.
“I have not met him, unfortunately,” Rudock said. “I’ve watched a lot of tape on him.”
Rudock, 24, hasn’t thrown a pass in the regular season and Brady is — well, he’s Brady. But that won’t stop Rudock from seeking a chance to meet the game’s best quarterback if the opportunity presents itself. It likely won’t happen before the game, but afterward, he’s open if Brady is available.
It’s been a step forward for Rudock in his second training camp. He went 13-for-21 for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason opener against the Colts and had 84 yards and an interception in the second game, against the Jets.
“There definitely was a lot to learn and get better at,” Rudock said. “I was fortunate enough to have done it last year, and going through it again, to pick up little things here and there and try to operate more smoothly at the line with our guys.”
Not far removed from his Michigan days, Rudock was asked about whether he keeps track of the Wolverines through blogs and his impression of their preseason ranking.
He had a humorous response.
“Yeah, I’m a big blog fan … no,” he said sarcastically. “It doesn’t matter until week six or seven … you’ve got to win games.”
Rudock said he does check in on some of his former teammates as they prepare for their seasons and they call him to see his progress in the exhibition season.
For Rudock, though, he’ll try to block out the distractions on Friday — including Brady — and prepare himself to try to have another good outing. It’s a preseason game, but it’s still against the Patriots.
“It’s a great challenge for us; obviously they’re really good,” he said. “There’s a reason they won the Super Bowl and (it’s a chance) for us to go out and play a really good team and see how we line up.
“It’s preseason and maybe they’ll do different things, but the best thing is we can go out there and play football and have some fun.”