Tim Boyle

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.

Lions To Re-Sign Tim Boyle

Tim Boyle is back. On Monday, the Lions agreed to a new one-year deal with the backup quarterback, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Lions To Re-Sign CJ Moore]

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise given Boyle’s standing with the team. The new deal could pay him up to $2.5MM with $1.75MM guaranteed, providing the Lions with an experienced backstop behind starter Jared Goff.

I’ve built a lot of special relationships here,” Boyle said recently. “I love the area. The fans have been awesome to me. And, yeah, I don’t get paid to make those decisions, but hopefully I put myself in an enough of a position to have them consider me back because I’d love to come back.”

Boyle made three starts in Goff’s stead in 2021. In that limited sample, he completed 64.9% of his throws with three touchdowns against six interceptions. Of course, the Lions are hoping for a healthy, productive season out of Goff, which will mean limited action from Boyle.

Lions’ Goff Doubtful For Game Against Seahawks

Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell told reporters yesterday that quarterback Jared Goff is doubtful to play this Sunday in Seattle. A lingering knee injury is looking more and more likely to hold Goff out of his second straight game.

It looks like Campbell is going to be cautious in handling Goff’s return to avoid further harm to the quarterback. With the end of the season approaching, and the Lions long disqualified from postseason contention, we may have already seen Goff’s season finale in Detroit’s Week 15 upset of the Cardinals.

In his first season with the Lions, Goff was able to reproduce much of the statistical output from his lesser years in LA, but without the team success. Goff has averaged 231.3 passing yards per game, slightly under his 2017 season average of 253.6 yards per game. He threw 17 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, displaying the same discipline and accuracy he showed as a Ram. It seems the drastic drop of talent around him made for a difficult transition for the sixth-year veteran in terms of winning football games.

In his absence, Tim Boyle is expected to make his second-straight start and his third start of the 2021 NFL season. In his previous two starts, Boyle was able to keep the Lions largely competitive in a three-point loss to the Browns and a four-point loss to the Falcons. Boyle has relied on short and easy completions to move the offense. He’s completed an impressive 39 of 57 pass attempts (68%), but has only totaled 264 passing yards in two games. He’s also struggled to keep possession, throwing 3 picks to only 1 touchdown.

Boyle is expected to face off against a Seahawks’ defense that ranks last in the NFC in passing yards allowed, so it appears something has to bend. Either Seattle will provide a stout passing defensive performance uncharacteristic of this year or Boyle will have a career day for his statistical production.

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: 11/9/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Lions’ Tim Boyle Designated For Return

The Lions have designated Tim Boyle for return (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). This will kick off a three-week practice window for the quarterback. If he’s not activated inside of the next 21 days, he’ll be ineligible to return this season. 

Boyle has yet to dress for a game this year, thanks to thumb surgery in late August. Without Boyle, they’ve used David Blough as their QB2 behind Jared Goff.

The Lions are still winless and Goff has struggled mightily, so Boyle or Blough could see some action in the second half. To date, Goff has just eight touchdown passes on the year against six interceptions.

Boyle, 27, has eleven career appearances, all with the Packers in 2019 and 2020. He’s thrown a grand total of four passes, but the Lions could be willing to give him a shot.

After the bye, the Lions will shoot for win No. 1 against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

Lions Re-Sign TE Darren Fells, Place QB Tim Boyle On IR

As expected, the Lions will begin their season without backup quarterback Tim Boyle. A thumb injury will sideline him into October, with the team placing the former Packers reserve on IR Thursday.

The team also stashed defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand on IR. Players placed on IR after roster cutdown day are eligible to return after three games. This is Hand’s fourth IR stay in four seasons.

Detroit also brought back one of its offseason additions, re-signing tight end Darren Fells a day after releasing him. Fells made it through to the Lions’ 53-man roster after cut day but was dropped on Wednesday. The former college hoops standout-turned-red zone target signed with the Lions in May.

Fells joins T.J. Hockenson as the only tight ends on Detroit’s active roster. This will be Fells’ age-35 season and second with Detroit. He was on the 2017 Lions before relocating to Cleveland and then Houston. With the Texans, Fells caught 11 touchdown passes over the past two years.

Boyle’s injury leaves David Blough as the only QB behind Jared Goff on the Lions’ active roster. This marks Blough’s third year with the team.

Additionally, the Lions also re-signed safety Dean Marlowe on Thursday. A Bills contributor from 2018-20, Marlowe joined Fells in being dropped from the roster for procedural purposes Wednesday.

Lions QB Tim Boyle To Miss Time

The Lions’ quarterback group will take a hit ahead of the regular season’s outset. Recently acquired backup Tim Boyle is set to miss time due to thumb surgery, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Stationed as Jared Goff‘s backup, Boyle is set to be out nearly two months. In order for Boyle to practice this season and back up Goff upon recovering, the Lions will need to carry him onto their 53-man roster.

Detroit signed Boyle earlier this year. He spent the past two seasons as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup in Green Bay, but Jordan Love moved up a spot on the Pack’s depth chart this offseason. The Packers non-tendered Boyle as a restricted free agent as a result.

Third-year passer David Blough is the only other quarterback on Detroit’s roster, so the rebuilding team may make a move here. However, Goff has proven largely durable during his five-year career. Goff did not miss a start due to injury until late last season, when a thumb surgery sidelined him.

Lions To Sign QB Tim Boyle

Tim Boyle is sticking around the NFC North. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports (via Twitter) that the veteran quarterback is signing with the Lions. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets that it’s a one-year deal worth $2.5MM, including $1.5MM guaranteed.

Boyle joined the Packers as an undrafted free agent back in 2018, and he became a bit of a cult hero as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup over the past few years. The 26-year-old has seen time in 11 career games, mostly as a human victory cigar; he has 18 “carries” for -16 yards. He’s attempted four passes in his brief career, connecting on three of them for 15 yards.

The 26-year-old was set to hit restricted free agency this offseason, but the Packers decided to not tender the fan favorite. The Packers will move forward with 2020 first-rounder Jordan Love as the definitive backup quarterback.

The Lions were presumably looking for some reinforcement at the position after letting go of Chase Daniel earlier this week. Boyle will likely compete with David Blough for backup reps behind Jared Goff.

Packers Will Not Tender QB Tim Boyle

The Packers’ quarterback depth chart may change soon. Green Bay is not planning to tender restricted free agent Tim Boyle, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link).

Boyle has served as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup, a role he held over Jordan Love throughout the 2020 season. Love, however, could be set to move up. It would cost Green Bay $2.2MM to tender Boyle at the original-round level. He will now become an unrestricted free agent.

While the Packers could opt to retain Boyle at a lower cost, it would make sense for Love to move up and begin to dress for games in his second season. Almost every quarterback chosen in Round 1 since Rodgers has started games as a rookie; Love was not even active for any Packers contests. He is expected to be Green Bay’s QB2 next season, Garafolo adds.

A UDFA out of Eastern Kentucky, Boyle has not started a game for the Packers. He has worked in mop-up duty frequently, playing in 11 contests over the past two seasons. The Packers allowed Brett Hundley to defect to the Cardinals in free agency in 2019, leaving Boyle behind Rodgers. Despite the team trading up for Love last year, Boyle remained the team’s top backup.