Lions coach Jim Caldwell has a completely different perspective on the journeyman NFL backup quarterback than the Lions fans do. Orlovsky was with the Lions from 2005 to 2008, before signing on as Matthew Stafford’s backup a few weeks ago.
When Caldwell was coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2011, Peyton Manning could not play the whole season. It turned into pretty much a nightmare ending with a 2-14 record and a pink slip for Caldwell.
When Orlovsky became the starter that season for the Colts they were 0-11.“I had a real great opportunity to see Dan operate in maybe some of the most difficult times that I’ve been in as a coach,’’ Caldwell said Thursday. “We had a team that wasn’t doing very well, we were struggling. Under duress, I saw a guy come in and really work extremely hard, a true professional regardless of all the distractions around.’’
Orlovsky led the Colts to wins in two of his five starts.
“(He’s) a really focused guy who has the kind of attitude I love,’’ Caldwell said. “He’s one of those guys who will fight until the bitter end. He caught on extremely well, learned the system quickly was ale to certainly adapt and adjust to it proficiently and gave us a chance to win some games down the stretch.’’
Orlovsky replaces Shaun Hill who didn’t see an significant action the last three seasons while Stafford stayed healthy.
Lions fans have bitter memories about Orlovsky.
Orlovsky is best remembered in Detroit for running out of the back of the end zone for a safety when he was lined up in the shotgun during his first career start in October 2008. The Lions lost 12-10 to the Vikings. He also started the 16th game in that 0-16 season. In 2008 he started seven games and completed 143 of 255 attempts for 1,616 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Remember, if Caldwell didn’t have faith in Orlovsky’s ability to step in and help win games, he wouldn’t have welcomed him back to Detroit.