Goff’s return to action for Lions not a lock after missing practice with a knee injury

Detroit News

Allen Park — Lost in Jared Goff’s COVID diagnosis last week was the fact the Detroit Lions quarterback is also dealing with a knee injury, suffered late in the first half of the team’s win over the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 19.

Goff was activated off the COVID/reserve list earlier this week, but the knee injury kept him off the practice field on Wednesday as the team preps for Sunday’s matchup in Seattle against the Seahawks.

“Yeah, it’s still there,” Goff said. “We’re still dealing with it. It’s day-by-day, but it’s still there. I still feel it and working through it.”

Goff suffered in the injury when Cardinals defensive lineman Jordan Phillips’ momentum carried him into the quarterback. He proceeded to roll over Goff’s lower leg as the pair went to the ground.

More: Over last four games, Jared Goff making case as long-term fit as Lions QB

Phillips was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play and Goff had to be helped off the field. He missed a single snap before returning and capping a scoring drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds.

With Goff out last weekend due to COVID, Tim Boyle stepped in to make his second start for the Lions. The backup quarterback played significantly better than his previous start, completing his first six throws and tossing the first touchdown of his career en route to a 24-for-34 performance.

But in the closing moments of the game, with the Lions trailing by four, Boyle was intercepted at the goal line after holding on to the ball for too long and making a bad defensive read, sealing the 20-16 loss.

“I feel like I saw the field really well,’ Boyle said when reassessing his performance on Wednesday. “I feel like I was making quick, almost at times too quick decisions. Didn’t hurt me, but there were opportunities if I were a little more patient I could’ve had a ball to Josh (Reynolds). I think it was the third, maybe the second play of the game. Then I had another route to (Kalif Raymond) that I could’ve been a little more patient.

“In my opinion, I think the fact that I’m working through it and I’m getting through my reads and progressions is definitely a step up from where I was doing it in Cleveland, but I’ll continue to get better at that as well.”

Despite being in his fourth season, the starts were the first of Boyle’s career. He acknowledged the patience in the pocket he’s trying to develop partially hinges on game experience.

“I’m not a rookie, so I’m not swimming, in terms of mentally,” Boyle said. “And I know what I’m doing physically. That’s the cool part. Right now I feel my gap of learning, every rep I get, is going to be so valuable, so critical. I can really put those in the bank and move forward with them down the road.”

Boyle is in line for a third start if Goff can’t get past the knee injury this week. The backup handled the first-team reps during Wednesday’s practice, and while Boyle has no indication at this stage how things will shake out, he’ll be ready. As it turns out, that’s a pretty big part of his job description.

“I feel like I always have to be ready to start,” Boyle said. “I learned that last year with this whole (COVID) thing going down when I was backing up Aaron (Rodgers). I had the real possibility of him popping (testing positive) on a Friday or Saturday and all of a sudden, with zero reps during practice, ‘Here you go, Tim. Here’s your first start.’ I kind of went through that mentally last year, understanding that it’s so fluid with COVID and with injuries. I know staying ready is the best way to do it.”

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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