Tim Boyle Could Start for Lions vs. Browns amid Jared Goff Injury, per Dan Campbell

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 19, 2021

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 27: Tim Boyle #12 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass during the second quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field on August 27, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Tim Boyle will make his first NFL start if Jared Goff misses Sunday's road game against the Cleveland Browns with an oblique injury.

Campbell told reporters Goff, who's feeling better and hasn't been ruled out, is going to throw Friday before a decision about the team's Week 11 starting quarterback is finalized.

Goff was officially listed as doubtful for the matchup.

Goff suffered the injury in the first quarter of the Lions' 16-16 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, but he finished the game. He missed the first two practice sessions this week.

"I don't want to sit up here and say I was hurt and whatever and make excuses," Goff said after the game. "It was bothering me, but I felt like I could compete and throw fine, and I felt like I did. I don't feel like it was a hindrance at any point."

The two-time Pro Bowl selection has struggled in his first year with Detroit after being acquired in a blockbuster offseason trade that sent fellow quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams.

Goff has completed 66.1 percent of his throws for 2,109 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions through nine games. He ranks last among the 33 qualified signal-callers in ESPN's Total QBR (27.2) and owns a poor 59.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

Boyle went undrafted out of Eastern Kentucky in 2018. After three years with the Green Bay Packers, he signed with the Lions in March.

The 27-year-old Connecticut native received extremely limited playing time behind Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, completing three of his four career pass attempts, all of which came in a November 2019 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

More recently, Boyle has been on injured reserve since September because of a thumb injury, but the Lions designated him to return this week, giving them a 21-day window to put him back on the active roster.

Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said they wouldn't change their approach if Boyle was thrust into the starting role, per Chris Burke of The Athletic.

"It definitely doesn't close any of the playbook," Lynn said. "He can handle it all. He's just been out for a while."

Whether it's Goff or Boyle, the Lions' passing attack will need to take advantage of a Browns defense that has allowed the third-most passing touchdowns (21) and the eighth-highest opponent passer rating (101.6) if Detroit is going to pick up its first win of the campaign.