Due to COVID-19 and a knee injury, Jared Goff missed three games for the Detroit Lions last season. In those games, a rather unknown quarterback came in: Tim Boyle. Unfortunately, Boyle lost all three of those games. In those games, he even threw three touchdowns to six interceptions, a disastrous 1:2 ratio. Yet, he also managed to lead the Lions to play close in two of those three matches. While Boyle may not be on the Lions roster beyond 2022, he is a very average backup that can still serve the team.
There is a Spot for Tim Boyle on the Detroit Lions Roster
Tim Boyle’s Roll
The key to answering why Detroit has room for Tim Boyle on their roster lies around his role on the team. And part of his roll revolves around Jared Goff; or the experiment that is Jared Goff in Detroit. Goff is going to have very little competition in 2022 for the starting job, especially as he finished the season on a strong note. Thus, any backup – such as Boyle – serves chiefly in a support function. Boyle is in Detroit to help the quarterback room and serve as a second learner, and specifically as someone who Goff can teach.
Boyle’s skillsets are set to improve, even if they are not in the ‘ideal’ quarterback range now. He shows a standard understanding of the system. Moreover, he helped be a leader in the three games in which he played; even if he did not look like a starting quarterback while doing it. As he heads into another season of play, the Lions can do a lot worse than Boyle.
The Cleveland and Atlanta Games
Tim Boyle’s three games were a 10-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns, a 16-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and a horrendous 29-51 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The game in Seattle was a devastating blowout, and the offense had no room to operate. The Cleveland and Atlanta games were, however, slightly different.
The Cleveland game, although statistically Boyle’s worst outing, looked the part of frozen offensive play-calling and an intimidated backup playing his first match. Boyle threw for only 77 yards, despite completing 65.22 percent of his passes. Overly conservative play-calling, and Boyle getting back from injury himself (broken thumb) may have contributed to a dismal outing.
The Atlanta game, however, showcased an improved Boyle. Commenting on his last start, “I want to win. If I throw for 77 yards again and we win, I don’t really care. I know that’s kind of, ‘Does he actually mean that?’ I mean, yeah. I’m fighting for my first win, as well as our third win, as a starter if I were to be the starter.”
Boyle proceeded to throw one touchdown and one interception, although he completed 24 of 24 passes. The play-calling was once again conservative, with a final of 5.5 yards per pass completion. Boyle had a chance to win the game late, but threw a duck to defender Foye Oluokun near the endzone. Had Boyle convereted that last drive for a win, this commentary would probably put state Boyle is somewhere ‘above average’ for a backup with ‘potential to improve’. Instead, he appears to be nervous yet competent enough to improve and be a leader when starter Jared Goff gets injured.
Draft, Free-Agency, and Backup Options?
Despite everything just written, the Lions should seek to re-sign Tim Boyle for the same dollar amount ($2.5 Million) and let him develop for another season. One year ago, punditry concluded Boyle might compete against Goff; that is clearly not the case now. Goff is the starter and Boyle can be a competent and helpful backup. The Lions have too many holes to spend a draft pick on a late ‘experimental’ quarterback, and free-agency does not offer options. The free-agents this season are largely veterans serviceable to teams looking for a place-holder starter, not a backup. If Goff becomes seriously injured – which there is no sign he should be – then the Lions can pursue a veteran and prepare for life after Goff. Until then, Boyle knows the system, and the Lions can wait for their ideal quarterback to come once the rest of the roster’s holes are plugged this season.