With Matthew Stafford still rehabbing from a broken back, the Detroit Lions had went with a more mobile approach under backup Jeff Driskel. Driskel’s speed and threat as a scrambler gave the Lions a little bit of a different wrinkle on offense, but when it was reported that Driskel was dealing with a hamstring injury during a short week, the risk was present for the Lions to start their third-string quarterback against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving.
That very scenario is going to be on full display as undrafted rookie quarterback David Blough is set to make his first career start on the national stage, as Ian Rappaport and others are now reporting.
The #Lions are expected to start QB David Blough tomorrow against the #Bears, sources tell @StaceyDales and me. Jeff Driskel’s hamstring has hindered him greatly, though he’ll end up backing up. A major challenge for Detroit.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 28, 2019
David Blough didn’t come to Detroit in camp, nor did he come as a practice squad signing. The team actually traded for the rookie out of Purdue back at the end of August, swapping 2022 seventh-round picks. He has remained as the team’s third-string quarterback ever since, repping behind Jeff Driskel and Matthew Stafford in a very clear third quarterback role. He started taking first-team reps this week as Jeff Driskel was dealing with a hamstring injury, which cast very serious, immediate doubt on Driskel’s availability as that sort of injury can severely inhibit the ability of a mobile quarterback to be a threat.
While Jeff Driskel was tall, thickly built, and an incredible athlete, David Blough is none of those things. At only six feet tall, Blough doesn’t have the ideal height you want from a pocket passer and his 4.91 40-yard dash is fairly indicative of the type of mobility you can expect from him. Blough averaged around 60 yards rushing per season at Purdue, a mark that Jeff Driskel bested just this week against the Redskins.
At Purdue, David Blough passed more than 1,400 times over four seasons for only a couple hundred yards shy of 10,000 yards and hit a pretty nice mark of 69 touchdowns. His 43 interceptions may give some pause, though half of those were in the 2016 season, with none of his other three years hitting more than 10. Blough seemed to turn a corner in 2017, pulling his completion percentage up from around 57 to over 65 percent in each of his final two seasons of college football as well as improving his yards per attempt and passer rating in each year.
With as many injuries as the Detroit Lions are already dealing with, including the devastating loss of starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, the team was already facing an uphill battle to win on Turkey Day. With David Blough coming in on a short week with only a couple of days taking meaningful reps, it’s going to be a very difficult game to win indeed. Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving in the hopes that the food is great, the conversation is meaningful, and the football is...well...at least not boring.