Detroit Lions

It Might Be Tim Boyle Time in Detroit

Photo Credit: David Reginek (USA TODAY Sports)

The Detroit Lions took a half step in the right direction when they tied the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10. While it wasn’t exactly a cause for celebration, the optimistic way to view it is that they’re inching closer to a win.

However, an oblique injury compromised quarterback Jared Goff in that game, and with the injury lingering, it could mean it’s Tim Boyle time for the Lions.

Let’s preface all of this by saying: Pump the brakes on any “Tim Boyle is the future” talk. Having said that, when you’re 0-8-1 like the Lions are, why not get a little excited about the unknown? The Goff campaign has come and gone like a fart in a windstorm. Boyle at least provides some intrigue.

Caveats about not having a great supporting cast amid a rebuild aside, it’s safe to say Goff is not the future franchise quarterback of the Lions. It’s not even close to being entirely his fault, but it has become very apparent in the first nine games of the season that if Goff is the signal caller moving forward, Detroit is in trouble.

Boyle likely isn’t the solution either but, in fairness, he hasn’t had a crack at things.

The third-year quarterback served as the backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay in 2019 and 2020. Outside of getting some late kneel-downs in victory formation, the former undrafted quarterback out of Connecticut and Eastern Kentucky hasn’t played in the regular season. This could be his chance.

Head coach Dan Campbell reiterated on Monday that Goff will be the starting quarterback if he’s healthy, saying that he believes Goff gives them the best chance to win.

“Well, it’s hard to say that he shouldn’t be the guy right now. It’s hard to say that, man, because [if you say], ‘Oh man, make this throw’ — well again, every time we try to throw it and dropped back, just about, our protection breaks down. And so until we can do things right around him… Now, yeah, there’s throws we want to see that he needs to make. There was a dart that we threw to ‘Lif’ (Kalif Raymond) that we should make and he’s pissed off about it, too. But ultimately, I still think right now, he’s the guy that gives us the best chance.”

With Goff’s oblique injury, Campbell may not have any other choice but to tab Boyle as QB1.

Some will roll their eyes at the idea of getting even a little excited about Boyle starting. But look at a couple other similar situations in the NFL this year.

Zach Wilson was tabbed to be the savior for the New York Jets. After a disastrous start to the year followed by an injury that sidelined him, New York turned to 2018 Dallas Cowboys fifth-round pick Mike White. White made his first NFL start in Week 8 against a red-hot Cincinnati Bengals team. He turned in a 405-yard, three-touchdown performance as the Jets broke through for their second win of the season.

Since then, he’s been benched for Joe Flacco. And, let’s face it, being compared to the Jets is never great. But that’s not the point!

For that one week, in the lead-up to the Bengals game, Jets fans had their antennae raised with intrigue over the unknown possibilities of Mike White. He delivered in a major way and gave that fanbase something to cling to, if only for a brief time.

Can’t Lions fans hope for the same, even if the smiles only last for a moment?

Detroit isn’t asking for the world this year, they’re asking for a one damn win. Something to hang their hat on after a three-hour Sunday slugfest. If Goff’s oblique injury holds him back from competing at the highest level, the right move is to sit him. Goff was 15 of 29 for 114 yards against the Steelers. Time and again, Campbell opted to run it on third down, which isn’t a sustainable model. In most cases, they’ll have to throw to come from behind instead of having the luxury of handing it off to D’Andre Swift 33 times.

Maybe Boyle will be a disaster. Maybe he’ll be a spark that lights a blazing fire. Or perhaps he’ll land somewhere in between. Detroit has nothing to lose at this point by playing him. He can’t be any worse than what Goff was while dealing with his oblique issue against Pittsburgh.

The Tim Boyle Show may be in full effect on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns — and that might not be a bad thing for the Lions.

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