Although Jared Goff is going into his third season as the Lions’ starter, Detroit has seen some quarterback turnover in recent days. Teddy Bridgewater joined the team late in the summer, and previous backup Nate Sudfeld landed on season-ending IR. Hendon Hooker landed on Detroit’s reserve/NFI list.
This leaves the Lions in need at the position — for the time being, at least — and a familiar face will step in. David Blough is re-signing with the Lions on a practice squad deal, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Blough, who went to training camp with the Cardinals before his Tuesday release, was with the Lions from 2019 until his release last year.
Joining the Lions via trade from the Browns before his rookie season, Blough started five games in place of Matthew Stafford that year. The Purdue alum/Hard Knocks featured cast member backed up Stafford in 2020 as well and then started two games in relief of Goff in 2021. The Lions made a QB2 change after cutdown day last year, cutting Blough to sign Sudfeld. The latter was not needed for any starts last season and is now out out of the picture due to the knee injury.
After joining the Cardinals’ practice squad, Blough became a surprise late-season starter for the reeling team. Blough, 27, is 0-7 as a starter in his four-year career. He returns to Detroit after a new Arizona regime made a number of changes at quarterback.
With Kyler Murray on the reserve/PUP list, the Cardinals released Colt McCoy and traded for Joshua Dobbs. After carrying five quarterbacks in training camp, the Cards have only Dobbs and fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune on their active roster.
The source of some strange, unpredicted preseason trades in the past few weeks, the Cardinals have been busy trying to figure out the 53-man roster they’ll open the season with. While some of their biggest cuts came in the days leading up to the deadline and the team is likely to continue making adjustments leading up to opening day, here are the cuts made to officially set team’s initial 53-man roster:
The release of the long-time Cardinals long snapper, Brewer, comes as a bit of a surprise as the only other long snapper on the roster, undrafted rookie Matt Hembrough, is currently on injured reserve. They’ll likely target a free agent who is left available after cut day.
Quarterback Kyler Murray was not moved from the physically unable to perform list, nor was cornerback Garrett Williams moved from the non-football injury list. Both will attempt to make returns shortly after the start of the season. Rookie backup center Gaines’ first NFL season is unfortunately over before it could begin after sustaining a knee injury in the team’s preseason finale.
In need of a new quarterback to fill out the depth chart, the Cardinals have quickly made a move. Arizona has signed David Bloughoff the Vikings’ practice squad, per a team announcement.
The 27-year-old has spent most of his career in Detroit, making seven total appearances with the Lions. That time includes five starts in 2019. He was among the team’s final cuts this season, though, with Nate Sudfeldbeing their preferred option as Jared Goff‘s backup. They hoped to keep Blough on their taxi squad, but he made an intra-divisional move to Minnesota instead.
Now, another NFC deal is on tap, and it will allow him to see time on Arizona’s active roster; the spot opened up with Kyler Murraybeing placed on IR following his ACL tear suffered on Monday night. Blough will serve as Colt McCoy‘s backup for the remainder of the season, and audition for a 53-man spot with Arizona or another team in the process.
The Cardinals also announced on Wednesday that wideout Rondale Moorehas been placed on IR. The move means that his season is over, and marks a disappointing end to his second NFL campaign. The former second-rounder was injured early in Arizona’s Week 11 loss to San Francisco, and finishes with 41 receptions, 414 yards and one touchdown for the year. The Cardinals’ already shorthanded offense will move forward with the likes of A.J. Green, Robbie Andersonand Greg Dortchserving in rotational receiver roles.
In a more positive development, Arizona has designated Will Hernandezfor return from IR. The veteran guard started each of the first nine games of the season, his first with the Cardinals. He has been sidelined ever since due to a pectoral injury, and his return to action will be a welcomed sight given the injuries suffered up front by D.J. Humphries, Rodney Hudsonand Justin Pugh this year.
If Hernandez is activated within the next three weeks, the Cardinals will be left with two IR activations. The offense he will be returning to, though, will look much different than the one he last saw.
A former Washington starter and the primary Atlanta cornerback opposite A.J. Terrelllast season, Moreau has experience playing both the slot and outside. The former third-round pick signed with the Texans earlier this offseason but did not make their 53-man roster.
The Lions attempted to keepDavid Blough by offering the Hard Knocks cast member a spot on their practice squad, but the three-year Detroit backup opted to head to Minnesota. He is currently on the Vikings’ 16-man taxi squad. A previous Aaron Rodgers backup, Boyle signed with the Lions last year.
Despite being a former second-round pick, Blair did not make the Seahawks’ 53-man roster this year. Knee injuries have sidelined him for most of the past two seasons. Seattle had stopped using Blair as a nickel, his primary role when on the field with the team that drafted him, during training camp.
Included as part of a 2019 trade that sent Marcus Peters to Baltimore, Young was also traded from the Rams to the Broncos last year. He started all 13 games he played in 2021 — seven as a Ram, six as a Bronco — and helped Denver fill the void created by Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell‘s season-ending injuries. Young spent most of this offseason with the Raiders but did not make their roster.
Currently, Jared Goff is flying solo at quarterback for the Lions. The team made the call to waive backup David Blough on Wednesday morning, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
Detroit’s new plan centers around Nate Sudfeld, whom NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport adds is expected to sign and be Goff’s new backup (Twitter link).
The Lions engaged in trade discussions with the 49ers, but the teams could not come to terms. After the 49ers decided to move on and give their third-string job to Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy, Sudfeld is now free to sign with the Lions.
As for Blough, who has been with the Lions since 2019, the team would like the Hard Knocks cast member to stay on as a practice squad arm, Schefter tweets. The former Purdue quarterback initially signed with the Browns as a UDFA but became a Lion via a late-summer trade three years ago. After making five starts as a rookie, Blough spent part of the 2020 season on Detroit’s practice squad. He was on the team’s active roster last season.
Sudfeld, 28, will join his fourth NFL team soon. While he has never made an NFL start in six seasons, the Indiana product’s cameo in Week 17 of the 2020 season — when he replaced Jalen Hurts late in a pivotal (though not for the Eagles) season finale — became rather controversial. Sudfeld has attempted 37 career passes, completing 25 of them (at 5.1 yards per attempt, however).
The former Washington UDFA spent much of his career as a Philadelphia third-stringer, who did rise to the position of Nick Foles‘ backup during consecutive Eagles playoff runs. Sudfeld landed in San Francisco last year. Jimmy Garoppolo‘s decision to accept the 49ers’ pay-cut offer changed the 49ers’ depth chart, pushing Purdy down to No. 3. Sudfeld could not secure that gig but looks to be moving to a No. 2 role soon.
Boyle, who joined the Packers as a UDFA in 2018 and who signed with the Lions last offseason after Green Bay non-tendered him as a restricted free agent, started the first three games of his career in 2021 in relief of an injured Goff. Detroit went 0-3 in those contests, and Boyle completed 64.9% of his passes for three TDs against six interceptions. Blough, meanwhile, has been in the Motor City since he was acquired in a minor trade with the Browns in advance of the 2019 campaign. He has not started a game since that 2019 season, when he went 0-5 with a 64.0 QB rating and a 4:6 TD:INT ratio.
Obviously, the club’s QB2 options are less than inspiring, but the battle between Boyle and Blough will be meaningful for both players as they attempt to extend their NFL careers. And head coach Dan Campbell said it will be an open competition when training camp begins next month, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes.
“Competition is great thing,” Campbell said. “I respect what both of them did this spring. That’s what I love about both of them. I know they are going out there to compete against each other.”
Now for several more Lions-related items:
As expected, rookie wideout Jameson Williamswill not be on the field when training camp opens, as Birkett writes in a separate piece. Per Birkett, Williams — who tore his ACL in the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in January — is likely to begin camp on the active PUP list, which is consistent with earlier reporting on the matter. If he has not been medically cleared when the regular season begins, he will revert to the reserve PUP list and will be required to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. The Lions are not expected to be a playoff outfit in 2022, and GM Brad Holmes has stated that Williams will be brought along slowly. Given his vast potential, which compelled Holmes to make an aggressive trade up the draft board from No. 32 to No. 12 to land the Alabama star, a conservative approach makes sense. Holmes does expect Williams to suit up for the club this season, though that might not be until November, and Campbell conceded that Williams will spend most of the summer rehabbing. Given all of that, a reserve PUP list designation appears to be the most likely outcome here.
The Lions have hired Brandon Sosna as senior director of football administration, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN.com. Sosna, who worked as a salary-cap and contract analyst for the Browns from 2017-18, had served as the right-hand man to USC athletic director Mike Bohn since 2019. The Trojans reportedly made a strong push to retain Sosna, but the opportunity to rejoin the NFL ranks was too appealing for the UPenn alumnus to turn down.
Lions QB Jared Goff is dealing with an oblique injury, so as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports, Tim Boyle will be Detroit’s starting signal-caller in the club’s matchup against the Browns this afternoon. It will be the first start of the 27-year-old’s career.
Boyle served as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup in Green Bay over the past several seasons, and though he had attempted just four career passes, the Lions inked him to a one-year, $2.5MM deal in March after he was non-tendered by the Packers (who were making room for Jordan Love). Unfortunately, Boyle’s strong training camp was marred by a thumb injury, and he was forced to start the 2021 campaign on IR as a result. He was designated to return earlier this month.
In the meantime, David Blough has been operating as Goff’s clipboard holder, and he will stay in his QB2 role today. Schefter says that if Boyle should struggle — he only recently returned to practice, so he is not as sharp as he could be — then Blough could be sent into the game. Because the Lions also play their traditional Thanksgiving contest in just a few days, either Boyle or Blough will likely be in line to start on Turkey Day as well.
It has been another difficult year for the Lions, who managed a tie with the Mason Rudolph-led Steelers last week to improve to 0-8-1. Detroit hoped that Goff, acquired in this offseason’s blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade, would be able to recapture the Pro Bowl form he displayed in the 2017-18 seasons, but he has largely struggled. Though O-line issues and a dearth of receiver talent are at least partially to blame, Goff’s 84.0 QB rating would represent his lowest mark since his seven-game rookie output. As such, Schefter confirms that the Lions’ quarterback situation for the rest of this season and beyond is unsettled.
The team has no realistic way of getting out of Goff’s contract until after the 2022 season, so he will almost certainly be back next year. But it does not sound like he is guaranteed to get his starting job back even when he is fully recovered, and the Lions will likely be in a position to draft one of 2022’s top collegiate passers in the spring. Starting today, Boyle will try to make his case to be involved in the conversation.
Of course, Boyle will have head coach Dan Campbell calling his offensive plays. Campbell took over play-calling duties from OC Anthony Lynn for the Pittsburgh game, and that arrangement will presumably hold through the end of the year. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Campbell — who still has the full respect of his locker room — is not planning to make any in-season coaching changes, but there will probably be some sort of shakeup to the staff in the offseason.