Detroit Lions cut ties with former Michigan QB Jake Rudock

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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Sep 1, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jake Rudock throws the ball during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field.

Jake Rudock made steady growth this preseason, but in the end the Detroit Lions decided there wasn't enough room on their 53-man roster for a developmental quarterback.

The Lions informed Rudock that he'll be released as part of their roster cut to 53 players today.

A sixth-round pick out of Michigan, Rudock completed 30 of 51 passes this preseason for 333 yards. He led three touchdowns drives in the Lions' preseason finale Thursday, a 31-0 win over the Buffalo Bills.

But the Lions apparently decided to keep veteran Dan Orlovsky as their No. 2 quarterback for the third straight year.

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Rudock is eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers on Sunday.

"That’s what it’s been, a good steady growth," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said of Rudock on Thursday. "He’s grasping the offense better and better and better. He’s a smart guy anyway. He works at it. He made some nice throws this evening and certainly did a nice job just in terms of operating the offense. We didn’t do a whole lot of no huddle out there. We huddled pretty much every time, but he still did a nice job getting us out of some bad plays and things of that nature. He’s developing. He obviously played well."

First-year Lions general manager Bob Quinn said before the draft that he hoped to take a developmental quarterback every few years.

Rudock fit the bill after transferring to Michigan last year after starting his college career at Iowa.

Though he was undersized for an NFL quarterback, Rudock showed the ability to extend plays with his feet this preseason. He ran for 62 yards on 10 carries while playing with the third-team offense.

Orlovsky, while not nearly as fleet of foot, has been a trusted second set of eyes for starter Matthew Stafford and a security blanket for Caldwell, who coached the quarterback for part of one season with the Indianapolis Colts and then brought him to Detroit in 2014.

Asked about the possibility of keeping all three quarterbacks on Thursday, Caldwell said the Lions would do what was best for the team.

"I’m not certain that there are any benefits or drawbacks (to keeping two or three quarterbacks)," Caldwell said. "I think in either case, you do what’s best for your team. If you keep two, that’s what’s best for your team at this time. If you keep three, that’s what’s best for your team. And that’s what we’ll do. We’ll look at the situation, make a determination on what’s best for us."

Contact Dave Birkett: Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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