- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Detroit Lions' quarterbacks took off their shoes following practice Wednesday, crouched down and, together with offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, started running around the team’s outdoor practice field.
This isn’t the first time the Lions quarterbacks have done this – and it’s not the first time the Lions quarterbacks have done this barefoot, something Kellen Moore calls a “Joe Lombardi special.”
Moore wouldn’t answer much about the whys of the barefoot running following a two-hour organized team activity practice Wednesday, leaving those questions to Lombardi. And when Lombardi does chat with the media, there might be more about the quarterback room to ask about.
The Lions made sure of that Wednesday ,when Moore came in after starting quarterback Matthew Stafford during all of the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills during Wednesday’s open OTA practice. This is a marked change from the 2014 season, when Dan Orlovsky was the clear backup to Stafford from the start of offseason workouts.
With Moore taking No. 2 snaps, it at least signifies there will be a legitimate competition for the spot backing up Stafford in 2015. Moore downplayed the possibility Wednesday, saying the two have been splitting No. 2 reps so far.
But considering Moore admitted he was the clear No. 3 last season, this is a change.
“We’ll see what happens,” Moore said. “Obviously at the end of the day, come the season, everyone’s got a role and you do that role to the best of your ability and we’ll see what happens.
“Right now, we’re just out here getting reps, which has been nice.”
Since the Lions brought Moore in as an undrafted free agent from Boise State before the 2012 season, he has been on the active 53-man roster for every game of his career. On game days, he has been inactive for every game of his career.
In his second year of the offense under Lombardi, however, he appears to have a better understanding of what’s going on.
“Any time that you get guys that are smart, that are hard workers, they continue to improve,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “With him, he’s got a better grasp of the offense, he’s got a better feel for the guys that he’s playing with.
“I think the receivers in which he’s throwing to, he’s getting an opportunity to throw it to them a little bit more often, so there’s a bit of an uptick there and I think you see that in guys that have his kind of characteristics and makeup.”
Moore has always been thought of as a highly intelligent quarterback capable of breaking down plays and defenses with ease – part of the reason he could become a strong coach after his playing days.
When that will be could depend on what happens during the next three months, because for the first time in his career, he’s getting a chance to compete for something other than the No. 3 quarterback position and the chance to continue to run barefoot with Lombardi and the rest of the Detroit Lions quarterbacks.