It’s not very often that you can say definitively that Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes has made a big mistake. For the most part, the second-year general manager has nailed it in the draft and in free agency. But when it comes to the backup quarterback position, he’s failed in a pretty noticeable way.
I’m sure there are some that are thinking, “So what? It’s just the backup quarterback spot.” I’m generally with you in that thought. However, the Lions are a team that has had backup quarterbacks start 11 games in the last three seasons. They’ve lost every single one.
Holmes had chances to remedy the Lions’ backup quandary in both free agency and the draft, and he neglected to do so. Instead the Lions opted to bring back both Tim Boyle and David Blough in free agency.
All summer the conversation has been about which one of the two will win the backup job. It’s been a back-and-forth battle the entire time with each guy taking turns being the clubhouse leader. You’d hope when it’s such a tight battle, it’s because both players are competing so well. Seeing the on-field product shows you that this is absolutely not the case.
Earlier in the week, Dan Campbell said he’s still looking for a backup quarterback to take the reins and step up. There is no question after Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers that neither quarterback did this.
So what should the Lions do? They can either stick with one of the backup quarterbacks and hope with all their might that Jared Goff doesn’t get injured this season and then go and solve this issue in the next offseason in the draft or in free agency. The better decision might be to just move on from both Blough and Boyle on Tuesday’s cut down day.
If the Lions do decide to do that, what kind of options do they have? There’s a hand full of options. First off, the Lions could find a trade partner and bring someone in. There were rumors recently that the Lions had some interest in Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. That’s certainly option the Lions could go for. Rudolph isn’t the best quarterback, but he’s arguably better than both Blough and Boyle.
What about making a trade to get a veteran guy like Nick Foles or Joe Flacco? It’s probably unlikely that the Colts and Jets would be willing to part with those guys, but the Lions could still take a shot at them. Give the Cardinals a call about Colt McCoy. If you’re going to have someone hold the clipboard, it might as well be a guy who has a history of being halfway decent and has a lot of game experience that they can share with Jared Goff.
Apart from a trade, the Lions have some options in free agency. There’s some intriguing names out there like Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton. While either of those guys in Detroit would be awesome, the more likely scenario would have you look at guys like AJ McCarron, Mike Glennon, Brett Hundley or Kyle Slotter. Maybe the Lions can head over to the USFL and steal Jordan Ta’amu from the Tampa Bay Bandits.
The final option is to wait until Tuesday to see who gets cut elsewhere. There may be a better option out there. Perhaps the Jets’ Chris Streveler could be a guy that makes it to the waiver wire. That may not be an option since Streveler has played so well, but Jets head coach Robert Saleh has not hidden his love for Joe Flacco. It really all depends on how many quarterbacks the Jets plan to carry.
None of these moves are going to suddenly make the Lions contenders or anything. We are talking about the backup quarterback after all. What the Lions can do is make their lives better if things go sideways with Goff. It’s worth it in the end.