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We’re kicking off the Detroit Lions 2022 training camp roster evaluations with the most important positional group in pro football: the quarterbacks.
There is no drama at the top. But there could be some drama and intrigue, and perhaps even an outside addition, behind the starter.
Jared Goff enters his second season in Detroit hoping to build off a strong finish to his first year. He needed it to recover from being one of the least-effective QBs in the league in the first 10 weeks of the year.
There was a clear line of demarcation in Goff’s production splits that came after he missed the Week 11 game against Cleveland.
Yards per attempt
Detroit won three of Goff’s final five starts after starting the year 0-10-1. That coincided with a few things: Taylor Decker’s return at left tackle, Anthony Lynn’s departure as the offensive coordinator and the emergence of Amon-Ra St. Brown as a top-shelf receiving threat. All of those blended together to offer legit hope that Goff can build off the underwhelming 2021 campaign.
Goff has zero competition for the starting gig entering training camp.
Boyle opens camp as the projected No. 2 behind Goff, though his grasp on that backup role is up for debate.
Like Goff, Boyle joined the Lions in 2021. Unlike Goff, there weren’t bright spots for the 27-yer-old former Packers backup. Poor defensive processing and careless decisions marred Boyle’s first extended NFL action. He threw twice as many INTs (6) as TDs (3) and did so while being even less aggressive down the field than Goff–the primary (valid) complaint against No. 16.
During the OTAs and minicamp, Boyle was sporadically awesome but generally unimpressive (to be kind) while splitting second-team reps behind Goff with David Blough. He has the strongest arm on the team and offers some functional running threat with his legs, though neither translates to his on-field play nearly often enough.
Blough is back for his fourth season in Detroit, though he hasn’t played a meaningful snap or attempted a pass since 2019.
It says a lot about Blough that the Lions gave Boyle so much rope in Goff’s absence a year ago. But that could be changing; Blough and Boyle split second-team reps throughout the OTAs and minicamp, and the 26-year-old Purdue product took advantage with a couple of superlative practice sessions.
Blough is the most vocal and fiery presence in the QB room. He lacks downfield arm strength, though I’d argue he has the best zip and quickest release of the QB trio on passes under 15 yards. If the early offseason was any indication–and it should be–the Lions are making it much more of a legit competition in 2022.
Right now, there are no others. Detroit isn’t carrying a fourth QB. The Lions do have an open roster spot and could add a developmental-type QB if they see one with enough appeal to contend for the No. 3 spot over the loser of the Boyle/Blough competition. Based on the current free agent market and what’s coming out of the USFL, it seems quite unlikely to happen.