Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff did not take part in the open portion of practice Friday, paving the way for Tim Boyle to make his first career start at quarterback.
Lions coach Dan Campbell said before practice that Goff would test his injured oblique in a pre-practice workout, and would practice only if “we feel like he can throw.”
Campbell said he planned to make his quarterback decision for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns on Friday, and would not take the decision up until gameday.
“I just think, man, when you start talking about quarterback it’s a little different,” Campbell said. “When it’s like, ‘Man, this receiver here could play,’ those are hard enough. When you’re talking about a quarterback, I think it needs to be these are your reps, you’re locked in, you’re ready to go. That’s all.”
Boyle, in his first season with the Lions after three with the Green Bay Packers, took first-team practice reps Wednesday and Thursday, and was working with the No. 1 unit again during the open portion of practice Friday.
He has never started a game in his NFL career, completing 3 of 4 for 15 yards in 11 appearances with the Packers.
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Goff injured his side on a deep pass to Kalif Raymond in the first quarter of last week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He finished the game, but had one of the worst passing days of his career. He had minus-1 yard passing in the first quarter, was 11 of 20 for 54 yards in regulation and finished the game 14 of 25 for 114 yards.
“I think last week, I don’t know if the game plan was adjusted based on the weather or based on my injury. Better question for Dan, probably,” Goff said Wednesday. “But there was definitely some limitations there that I don’t know if I kind of realized in the moment.”
Goff, who has one touchdown pass in the past five weeks and is last in the NFL in intended air yards per target and completion, said he would not play this week if his participation limits the Lions on offense.
The Lions are 0-8-1 this season and are tied for 29th in the league in scoring.
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Boyle has not played since breaking his right, throwing thumb in the preseason. He has a stronger arm than Goff and is less risk-averse, but completed just 56.4% of his passes in the preseason.
Campbell said Boyle looked “a little rusty” in practice Wednesday, but had a stronger showing Thursday.
“Let me say this about Tim Boyle, he lacks zero confidence, I can tell you that,” Campbell said. “He’s got plenty of confidence, and so that’s a good thing, but that can also (be a detriment). So we’ll see where this game goes if he’s our guy and see where the weather takes us, see where he takes us. But I know this, we have to be smart with him and let him work into a rhythm.”
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.