Best competition: Backup quarterback
For a second training camp in a row, Boyle and Blough will compete to determine who wins the backup job behind Goff. Last year, Boyle won the gig out of camp.
The Lions ended up needing Boyle to start three games last year because of injury, and he was 0-3 in those starts. His best chance to get a win was in Atlanta Week 16, but a late interception in the final minute halted Detroit's comeback attempt.
Blough hasn't played meaningful reps since starting five games for the injured Matthew Stafford at the end of the 2019 season. He was 0-5 with four touchdowns and six interceptions over those games.
The Lions have a ton of confidence in both Boyle and Blough. It's the reason why the team didn't draft a young signal caller or sign a veteran in free agency.
Boyle is the more athletic of the two, while Blough has that Texas gunslinger mentality. They split reps with the second-team offense in OTAs and minicamp, so the competition seems pretty tight heading into camp. It should be one of the better position battles to watch over the course of camp.
View photos of the Detroit Lions quarterbacks heading into training camp.
Twentyman's take: Goff appears to be in a pretty good place heading into his second training camp in Detroit. He had a nice spring and he's really taken ownership of this offense with new offensive coordinator Ben Johnson.
It was a rough start for Goff in Detroit after coming over in the trade last offseason that sent Stafford to the Rams. But after Johnson was elevated to pass game coordinator and head coach Dan Campbell took over play calling duties, Goff finished 3-2-1 with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions with a passer rating north of 100.0 in his final six starts. The Lions are hoping he picks up where he left off.
Goff was the Week 13 NFC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 25-of-41 passes for 296 yards with three touchdowns and a 97.2 passer rating in helping Detroit beat Minnesota with an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown as time expired. The Lions are hoping they get a lot more of those performances in 2022.
The team spent a lot of resources this offseason to revamp Goff's receiver corps. He'll be playing behind arguably one of the top offensive lines in football. He's also got a Pro Bowl tight end in T.J. Hockenson and one of the more exciting running backs in the league in D’Andre Swift. I'd argue this is just as good or maybe even a little bit better collection of talent around Goff offensively here in Detroit this year than what he had around him in LA when he took the Rams to the Super Bowl in 2018. Now it's up to Goff to make it all click.
When it comes to the backup job, it was a little concerning to me how the offense seemed to really change when Boyle stepped in last year, especially in his first start in Cleveland. I know Boyle hadn't been back that long after dealing with a thumb injury suffered in the final preseason game, but it was like Campbell didn't have confidence Boyle could throw the ball downfield and make plays. Things opened up a little more in his next couple starts, but there was still a very conservative approach with Boyle.
Blough isn't afraid to throw the ball around the field, and while that got him into a little trouble in 2019, it also propelled him into a tight race with Boyle in the spring and early summer this offseason.
Both Boyle and Blough will have to prove in the preseason they can step in and run the offense as is and be productive doing so.
By the numbers:
1.6: Goff's interception percentage (494 pass attempts with eight INTs) last year, which was tied for the fifth best in the NFL.
2: Times last year (vs. Minnesota and Arizona) Goff completed better than 80 percent of his passes. That tied Stafford and Gary Danielson for the most in a single season in Lions history (min. 25 att.).
6.57: Yards per attempt for Goff last year, which ranked 27th among qualified passers.
35: Drives of at least 10 plays for the Lions in 2021, which was better than the NFL average of 33.
47.8: Detroit's red zone efficiency percentage last season, which was the second lowest in the NFL.
101.8: Goff's passer rating with Campbell and Johnson running the offense, which was the sixth best rating in the NFL the second half of the season.
Quotable: "I've got a really strong relationship with Jared right now," Johnson said of Goff in June. "One of my top priorities, personally, is to help him have the best season of his career.
"One thing that we've done is included him a lot in what we're trying to do schematically, and so we spent some time this offseason watching more of the stuff he did a few years ago in LA and how we can incorporate some of that, while also challenging him to take the next step in some areas of improvement for him as a player as well. He's having a good offseason, though. I'm really encouraged with where he is."