Allen Park — As of Friday morning, Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff was still testing positive for the COVID-19 virus, all but eliminating hope he’ll be medically cleared to play in Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
“Yeah, I would say highly unlikely with where we’re at right now,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “He didn’t clear this morning, so I would say it’s looking doubtful.”
In addition to Goff, the Lions officially ruled out cornerback Amani Oruwariye and linebacker Josh Woods, while listing eight as questionable for the contest. That group consisted of running back D’Andre Swift, guard Jonah Jackson, wide receivers Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond, defensive lineman Michael Brockers, and linebackers Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Julian Okwara.
If Goff sits, it would mark the second time he’s been sidelined this season, previously missing a game with a strained oblique muscle. Tim Boyle started that contest, against Cleveland last month, and is in line to start against Atlanta, as well.
Boyle struggled against the Browns, throwing for just 77 yards, while getting intercepted twice, in the 13-10 loss. But there were also some mitigating circumstances with that performance, with Boyle coming off injured reserve 11 weeks after thumb surgery, plus inclement conditions, all contributing to a conservative game plan.
Even with the results what they were, Campbell is convinced the experience of playing in a game, Boyle’s first career regular season start, will prove invaluable ahead of his second.
“Look, I expect a guy that will be able to function in our offense,” Campbell said. “He’ll be able to move the ball, he’ll be a general for us out there, he’s going to get us in the right play, he’ll make the right decision. That’s what I expect. And I feel very confident in that. The communication will be really good, he’ll be able to get those guys going in the right direction and we’ll see from there. It’s just about getting him in a rhythm after that.”
As for Oruwariye, he’s played more defensive snaps than any Lions player this season. Campbell explained the cornerback suffered a ligament and bone injury to his thumb on the final drive of last week’s game of Arizona and is still being evaluated. He’s still being evaluated, but season-ending surgery is on the table.
With Oruwariye out, the Lions could either turn to safety Will Harris, who played as an emergency cornerback last week, or rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu, who was recently activated off the COVID list.