David Blough

Lions Notes: QB2, Williams, Sosna

The Lions passed on adding a quarterback in this year’s draft, and they will go into the 2022 season with Jared Goff as their starting signal-caller. Behind Goff on the depth chart are Tim Boyle and David Blough, both of whom re-signed with the club in March.

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 Williams will 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.
  • Yesterday, Lions DL John Penisini announced his retirement.
  • Our Adam La Rose recently profiled Lions TE T.J. Hockenson as an extension candidate.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/17/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tim Boyle To Start At QB For Lions; Latest On Coaching Staff

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.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/17/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Lions Set Initial Practice Squad

The Lions have announced their initial practice squad in a release, with Detroit adding 16 players to the unit:

Blough was an undrafted rookie from Purdue last year who ended up starting five games after injuries to Matthew Stafford and Jeff Driskel. The offseason addition of Chase Daniel made Blough expendable, but he’ll serve as the third quarterback.

Wiggins has been in the league since 2012, and he has extensive starting experience. He’s started 13 games for Detroit over the past two years, and will probably be the first guy getting called up if there are offensive line injuries. Williams carried the ball 49 times for Indy last year, but he’ll have a tough time getting any snaps now that the Lions have also added Adrian Peterson.

Lions QB David Blough Expected To Start Thursday

Lions quarterback David Blough is expected to make his first career start tomorrow in place of Jeff Driskel, a source tells Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. Driskel is not expected to be able to play through a hamstring injury that’s been causing him problems.

Blough will be the third different player to start under center for the Lions. Driskel stepped in for franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford when he went down with an injury of his own. The Lions do not have another quarterback on their roster, which means tight end (and collegiate quarterback) Logan Thomas will serve as the team’s emergency backup.

An undrafted free agent out of Purdue, Blough, originally signed with the Browns. However, as roster cuts approached, the Lions agreed to swap conditional draft picks in exchange for the rookie signalcaller. Unlike Driskel, Blough is not a mobile quarterback (he ran a 4.9 40-yard dash during the draft process), and will have to rely on his skills as a pocket passer to take down the Bears.

In his first career start, Blough will be going up against one of the better defenses in football (Bears) on one of the biggest stages of the year (Thanksgiving). The pressure and bright lights will be on and he will get a chance to make an impression.

Browns Trade QB David Blough To Lions

The Lions are stockpiling quarterbacks. Detroit is trading for David Blough, acquiring him from the Browns, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

In perhaps the most minor trade on a day full of minor trades, the two teams will swap seventh-round picks in 2022, Schefter notes. Blough is an undrafted rookie from Purdue who had been operating as Cleveland’s fourth-string quarterback in camp. The Lions are in the process of trimming their roster so this will likely change shortly, but as of right now they have five passers on their roster.

Behind starter Matthew Stafford, they currently have Tom Savage, Josh Johnson, and former AAF signal-caller Luis Perez. Perez was just signed a couple of days ago. Savage started the offseason as Stafford’s backup, and the team signed the legendary journeyman Johnson after Savage sustained a concussion in the preseason. Blough was a starter for most of the past four years at Purdue, earning a third-team All-Big Ten selection last year.

Browns Sign 15 UDFAs

The Browns are the latest team to formally announce their undrafted free agent class. Overall, Cleveland inked 15 additional rookies to supplement their draft class, which did not include a first round pick.

  • Dorian Baker, WR (Kentucky)
  • David Blough, QB (Purdue)
  • Stephen Carlson, TE (Princeton)
  • Brian Fineanganofo, OT (Idaho State)
  • Jamie Gillan, P (Arkansas Pine-Bluff)
  • Darrin Hall, RB (Pittsburgh)
  • J.T. Hassell, S (Florida Tech)
  • D.J. Montgomery, WR (Austin Peay)
  • Jarrell Owens, DE (Oklahoma State)
  • Jermaine Ponder, CB (Saint Francis Pa.)
  • Wyatt Ray, DE (Boston College)
  • Anthony Stubbs, LB (Prairie View A&M)
  • Trevon Tate, C (Memphis)
  • Willie Wright, C (Tulsa)
  • Dedrick Young II, LB (Nebraska)

Many analysts thought that Ray would get drafted, so he might have one of the best chances of making the team. He was productive for Boston College last season in his first year as a starter, notching 11.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Gillian is another interesting player in this class. Nicknamed the ‘Scottish Hammer’, he’s extremely versatile and handled both punting and kicking duties in college.

The Browns did just draft kicker Austin Seibert in the fifth round and most people project Gillian as more of a punter in the pro game. He should have the chance to battle it out with Britton Colquitt in camp. Baker didn’t see too much action because of Kentucky’s run-first offense, but he’s a big receiver who’s very strong, and he could be a decent flyer.