Pittsburgh –The Detroit Lions apparently found their backup quarterback on the first free agency day this offseason, signing Tim Boyle away from the Green Bay Packers on a one-year, $ 2.5 million contract.
But David Blough, who lost his entire support system in Detroit when the coaches and front office who traded for him and invested in his development were laid off last year, gave the Lions food for thought in the coming days. their final decisions on the list.
For the second straight preseason game, which coach Dan Campbell says plays the biggest role in player ratings, Blough outperformed his counterpart.
Entering the game midway through the third quarter against the Steelers on Saturday night, Blough inherited a 23-point deficit and managed to put the Lions on hand to win the game with a trio of touchdowns.
“It’s always fun, always good, when you can go out and score points,” said Blough. “It was ugly at times, it wasn’t always perfect, but I think that says a lot about the guys. Obviously we want to win, we want to finish. It says something about guys who want to go there. down and fight. “
Blough ended his night completing 12 of 17 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. He also scrambled twice for an extra 26 yards, keeping another scoring record alive.
In the first two games, playing a similar number of snaps, Blough has the advantage over Boyle in most statistical categories, including completing 23.9% more of his throws for 137 additional yards.
“I think I had a good training camp,” Boyle said. “Your rating is for games and I don’t think I played the game well enough, by my standards. I put people in a position to play games. Can I be more specific? Can I be more punctual? “Can I make better decisions? Sure. But as I keep telling you, it’s just about banking these reps.”
The two easygoing guys off the pitch, Blough and Boyle formed a quick friendship. Even though they are competing for the same job, they support each other. So despite the frustrations of his own performance against the Steelers, Boyle was quick to praise his challenger’s exit.
“David played amazingly tonight,” Boyle said. “He’s a competitor, man. He really is. He impresses me every day. He’s just got that mindset, going out there and throwing the ball and throwing it. Lots of extras today. “Yeah for him, which worked out well, but yeah, he put us in a position to win the game today. That’s all you can ask for.
“In the quarter room, we’re proud of him,” Boyle continued. “I’m proud of him. We’re going to keep pushing each other every day, and that’s how I like it. That’s how he likes it.”
Blough, who spent the last two seasons with the Lions after being acquired under a deal with Cleveland at the end of the 2019 preseason, isn’t just fighting for a spot on the roster. He is fighting to prove that he is a better player than he showed with his early career opportunities.
As a rookie in 2019, he went winless in five starts, posting a dismal 64.0 passer rating in the process. Last year, he recorded just 10 passing attempts, but still managed to throw an interception.
“It’s fun to have that little experience, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth like it ended,” he said. “I know my best football is in front of me, and every day I have a job to do to improve myself. I have been around some great guys. This is my third year, and my third choice No. 1 at quarterback. I’ve been around (Jared Goff, Matthew Stafford and Baker Mayfield). I learned from guys and just added things to my tool belt, and I hope I will continue to grow as a player, as a man, as a leader, and one day when all is said and done, I will have no regrets. “
With one pre-season game remaining, which Goff is expected to abstain from, the Lions will have another opportunity to assess their position behind the starter.
“I would say this, I like our two quarters,” Campbell said after the game. “I think at the end of the day you’re looking: can I trust the guy behind Goff? Do I know this guy is going to take care of the ball? I know he will be efficient, he can effectively move our attack, it ‘will give us a chance to win matches.
“More than anything, it’s about confidence,” Campbell said. “I would say, really, just because we’ve been with these guys for so long in the camp, I really trust them both. I love them. I think they’re both very different in the way. they approach the way they do things and the way they play. “