Tim Boyle, David Blough ‘battling hard’ for supporting role with Lions

Detroit News

Between injuries to his oblique and knee, as well as a brief stint on the COVID-19/reserve list, Lions quarterback Jared Goff missed three games in 2021 and backup Tim Boyle started in his place for all of them.

The Lions didn’t win in any of Boyle’s starts, but his best performance came against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16 when he completed 70.6% of his passes for 187 yards and a touchdown.

Boyle was re-signed to a one-year deal this offseason, and fellow backup David Blough, who was listed as the team’s third quarterback on the depth chart, was re-signed too.

“You just don’t bring guys back just to bring them back because they were here last year,” quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell said earlier this month. “You bring them back because you believe they have the ability to be solid backups. We (have) a lot of confidence (in them).

“Listen, they’re going to need to have a good training camp, like Jared will too. But as far as spring is concerned, I know speaking for myself, I’m very pleased with that room.”

Although Boyle was the top backup last season, that doesn’t mean the door is shut on Blough overtaking him for the job. Blough got reps with the second-team offense at points during OTAs and had a particularly impressive practice on June 7, when he threw multiple touchdowns during a red-zone period and captained an 81-yard touchdown drive in an end-of-half scenario.

But Boyle responded the following day with a good practice of his own, with a clear competition brewing between the two.

“Competition is a great thing,” head coach Dan Campbell said this month. “Listen, I respect what both of them did this spring. That’s what I love about both of them. I know they are going out there to compete against each other.”

Brunell said he’s confident in the abilities of either quarterback to be Goff’s understudy.

“(They are) two real smart guys,” he said. “Two guys that are certainly capable of being in that No. 2 spot. Training camp will be interesting. They’re battling out pretty hard, and work very, very well together. I have a good room, I’m very fortunate.”

Brunell, a former NFL quarterback who led the league in passing yards with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1996, has backup experience.

Toward the tail end of his career, Brunell played four seasons split between the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets, serving as the backup to Drew Brees and Mark Sanchez. Brunell was also the holder for the Saints and won a Super Bowl with the team in 2010.

“That’s the job of a quarterback in a supporting role,” Brunell said. “You do not know when your time is coming, so you have to stay ready. That’s what I love about David and Timmy so much.

“At any moment, if they had to step in, they would do just fine. They really would.”

rsilva@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Rich_Silva18

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