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2017 training camp preview: Quarterback
July 20, 2017 11:02 AM | Tim Twentyman
On roster: Matthew Stafford, Jake Rudock, Brad Kaaya

Key loss: Dan Orlovsky

Making cut: Stafford

On bubble: Rudock, Kaaya

Best competition: Who becomes Stafford's backup this season?

Rudock and Kaaya will battle it out during training camp and the preseason for the role.

Rudock has the advantage right now heading into his second season. He knows the scheme and has adjusted to the pace of the game at the NFL level. He's calm, cool, collected and that showed during OTAs and the minicamp.

Like all rookie quarterbacks, Kaaya's head was spinning a bit trying to pick up Jim Bob Cooter's complex offense in so little time. The way he ran the offense this offseason compared to how Rudock ran it was night and day. That's the difference a year can make at the quarterback position.

Kaaya has a lot of potential, but his knowledge of the offense and his effectiveness running it has to improve dramatically by the start of training camp if he's going to really push Rudock for the job.

The Lions have kept only two quarterbacks on the roster the last two seasons. Rudock lost the backup competition to Orlovsky last season and started the year on the practice squad before joining the active roster later in the season.

2016 stats PLAYERGAMESCOMPATTYDSCOMP %TDINTSACKRATING Matthew Stafford 16 388 594 4,327 65.3 24 10 37 93.3 Jake Rudock 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0.0 Brad Kaaya* 13 261 421 3,532 62.0 27 7 25 150.3 * college statistics Twentyman's take: Stafford was extremely crisp during the portions of OTAs and minicamp open to the media. He and Cooter are entering their third season together as quarterback and coordinator and the comfort level is obviously there.

Stafford was having arguably his best season as a professional last season before an injured finger on his throwing hand affected his play down the stretch.

Now 100 percent healthy, the expectations should be high for Stafford to play well and turn this offense into one of the league's best.

Rudock's gotten stronger with a year in an NFL weight program under his belt. The added strength was noticeable when he threw the ball this spring and summer.

It's a bit of a gamble by GM Bob Quinn going with two players who've never played a down in this league as Stafford's two backup options, but Quinn drafted both players and obviously feels good about their ability, especially Rudock's, if called upon to play.

By the numbers:

15: The 15 giveaways (10 interceptions and five fumbles) by the Lions last season were the fewest in a single season for the club since 1940. Stafford's 10 interceptions set a new franchise low record.

109: Career games it took Stafford to surpass 30,000 passing yards, the fewest games ever in NFL history.

8: Stafford engineered eight come-from-behind wins in the fourth quarter or overtime last season, the most in NFL history in a single season.

Quotable: "We have great communication, not only in the meeting room but out here on the field," Stafford said this offseason of he and Cooter "This is a creative offense. He allows me a lot of freedom at the line of scrimmage to get in and out of the plays that I think may or may not work.

"They're not going to work every time. We're going to have physical errors and things of that nature. Just trying to get us in good aggressive plays against the defense that we're seeing is my job, and I do it the best I can."

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