Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo and Justin Rogers talk about what went wrong in the loss to the Saints and what's in store for the bye week and beyond for the Lions. The Detroit News
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been an ironman, starting every game since the start of the 2011 season.
That’s a good thing, too, at least in the eyes of NFL.com’s Marc Sessler, who on Wednesday ranked understudy Jake Rudock 27th among 32 backup quarterbacks in the league.
That's only slightly better than rankings posted last May from Sports Illustrated, which ranked the Lions' backup quarterback situation second to last.
The Lions drafted Rudock out of Michigan (via Iowa) in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, and haven’t needed to turn to him in a game yet, though he came pretty close is last week’s wild 52-38 loss to the New Orleans Saints. It’s a game in which Stafford struggled, and was battered for five sacks, before the Lions mounted a second-half comeback.
Sessler writes it’s one reason why Rudock checks in so low in his rankings. He’s one of nine quarterbacks Sessler has slotted into the category, “fading satellites and unsolved mystery.”
Rudock is likely the latter.
“Just 24, Rudock produced a positive preseason for the Lions, showing plus mobility behind starter Matthew Stafford,” Sessler writes. “We have no idea how he’d fare in games that matter.”
Rudock was 37-for-56 in the preseason (66.1 percent completion rate), throwing three touchdowns to just one interception for a 95.8 rating.
Sessler’s list is chock full of familiar faces, starting with former Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer, who is No. 7 on the list after ceding the starting role with the San Francisco 49ers to rookie C.J. Beathard who, interestingly, succeeded Rudock at Iowa.
Sessler writes “it’s entirely possible we see Hoyer again during the long season for the Niners.”
Two more quarterbacks with MSU ties are in Sessler’s “ham-and-eggers” category: Philadelphia backup Nick Foles, who spent his freshman season in East Lansing, is No. 12, followed by former MSU standout Drew Stanton at No. 14 with the Arizona Cardinals.
Former Michigan quarterback Chad Henne is No. 18, while former Lions third-stringer Kellen Moore ranks 23rd with the Cowboys. Ryan Mallett, who strarted his collegiate career at Michigan before transferring to Arkansas, brings up the rear as the Baltimore Ravens’ backup to Joe Flacco.