Lions' Orlovsky calls pick-sixes ‘stupid plays’

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky completed 58.9 percent (33-of-56) of his passes in the preseason.

Allen Park — Lions backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky feels like he’s in a good place and has plenty to offer.

Orlovsky, an 11-year veteran, was recently reading an article where Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown said he felt best suited as a backup. Orlovsky said McCown’s words rang true with him and feels it’s a role where he’s at his strongest.

Lions fans, though, might feel differently.

Orlovsky was showered with boos from the home crowd on multiple occasions during last Thursday’s 30-14 exhibition loss against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ford Field.

After the first-team offense checked out of the game, Orlovsky took over early in the second quarter and the second-team unit’s first drive got off to a promising start after picking up a first down at midfield.

But following consecutive completions to Andre Roberts and TJ Jones, things quickly turned sour. On a third-and-2, Orlovsky made an “overconfident throw” to Zach Zenner in the flat that was jumped by Derron Smith and taken back 60 yards for a touchdown.

It was the second pick-six Orlovsky had thrown in as many preseason games. In the exhibition opener at Pittsburgh, Orlovsky avoided a sack and attempted to throw the ball away but lofted it to the waiting arms of Doran Grant, who easily scored on a 39-yard interception return.

“We moved the ball well. I had those two miscues that are just stupid plays,” Orlovsky said prior to Tuesday’s practice. “You learn from them no matter how long you play in this league or this game. You always learn so learn from it, continue to grow, continue to do what you’re doing well and then you kind of refine the things that you want to try and get back."

Despite Orlovsky bouncing back both times to lead the team to a field goal on the ensuing possession, many fans have clamored for rookie Jake Rudock to play ahead of Orlovsky.

In the exhibition home opener against the Bengals, Rudock was cheered when he took the field in the fourth quarter for his first series, which quickly ended after a forced throw over the middle to Jace Billingsley resulted in an interception.

“That's just part of playing this position. Fans always want the next thing no matter where you are really,” Orlovsky said. “I've been here when (Matthew Stafford) has been booed off the field 15 times, too, so it's just part of it.”

Over the first two exhibition games, Orlovsky has a 66.9 passer rating after completing 24-of-39 passes (61.5 percent) for 247 yards, a touchdown and two pick-sixes. Rudock has thrown for 162 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 16-for-22 passing (72.7 percent) for an 89.6 passer rating.

Yet, Orlovsky said Rudock’s performance doesn’t push him or change his approach in the battle for the backup spot.

“I focus on my job and doing my job and going through my routine to get myself ready,” Orlovsky said. “I want to see Jake do well and continue to do well and continue to develop, but if I'm waiting for someone else to do something then I obviously have a bad mentality."

Orlovsky said he embraces the mentorship role with Rudock because he was fortunate to have others help him when he was a rookie. He added he doesn’t try to bombard Rudock with too much information at once, something Rudock was appreciative of.

“I mean right now I'm just trying to learn. I think that's the biggest thing for me,” Rudock said. “Dan has so much knowledge and I'm just trying to take all the knowledge I can from Dan and Staff. And that's as far as I think it goes for me is just trying to focus on the daily thing and understanding that they have so much knowledge that I have so much to learn so I need to do the best I can at learning.”

If there’s one thing Rudock can take away from Orlovsky, it’s to ignore the sneers and jeers and keep moving forward.

“I do not care about the boos,” Orlovsky said.

“I mean I've been playing quarterback for 20 years. It's not the first time. At some point the boos will no longer be happening and I’ll want them."