Lions set to start Boyle after Goff tests injury; Decker good to go after injury scare

Detroit News

Allen Park — For the first time this season, the Detroit Lions are set to have a different starting quarterback.

Based on comments made by Lions coach Dan Campbell Friday morning, Tim Boyle will be under center for the team when they travel to Cleveland to face the Browns on Sunday.

After two days of rest, starter Jared Goff arrived at the facility feeling better, but after testing his injured oblique ahead of Friday’s practice, the team decided to continue holding him out of practice.

“Yeah, Goff will throw today, just see where he’s at,” Campbell said before practice. “But until we know more from there, we’re planning on Boyle, and certainly (David) Blough is ready.”

Boyle, who has spent the first nine games of the season on injured reserve after suffering a thumb injury requiring surgery in the preseason, has handled all the first-team reps to start the week.

“I would say Wednesday he looked a little rusty, which you would expect,” Campbell said. “He came back yesterday and looked better, and I would expect he looks even better today. I would say he’s on track.”

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An undrafted rookie in 2018, Boyle has seen limited playing time during his career, typically entering in the late stages of blowouts while serving as Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay. For Boyle’s career, he’s thrown just four passes, completing three for 15 yards.

In training camp, Boyle had a noticeably stronger arm than Detroit’s other quarterbacks, regularly having more success with working the ball downfield. Campbell was asked if the switch could open up more of the playbook, contrasted against the seemingly risk-adverse Goff, who ranks 32nd out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks on average depth of target this season.

“Well, it’s tough to say right now,” Campbell said. “Let me say this about Tim Boyle, he lacks zero confidence, I can tell you that. He’s got plenty of confidence. That’s a good thing, but that can also, you know what I mean? 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 it and let him work into a rhythm.”

While Goff’s status remains in doubt, there’s less concern about left tackle Taylor Decker, who sat out Thursday’s practice with an elbow injury.

“I think he’s good,” Campbell said. “I think it not as bad as we thought it could be. I think we’re fine and I think he’s going to be good to go. Look, he’s tough, man. He’s going to handle this well. He got it checked out and should be good.”

Decker missed the first eight games this season after suffering a broken finger that required surgery and the implementation of a plate and five screws to correct. He returned last week to play all 71 offensive snaps against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Prior to missing those eight games, Decker had started 55 of the past 56 games for the Lions.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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