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NOTEBOOK: Goff insists on playing in preseason opener despite planned night off

Veteran quarterback Jared Goff wasn't supposed to play against the Atlanta Falcons Friday night in Detroit's preseason opener. Head coach Dan Campbell had planned to give Goff the night off. But as soon as Goff found out the starters along the offensive line were playing, there was no keeping him out of the lineup.

"He came to my office and said, 'I want to play,'" Campbell said after Friday's 27-23 loss to Atlanta. "I said, 'you're not playing' and he said, 'if they are playing, I'm playing.' So, I said, 'ok, you're playing.'

"I appreciate that about him. He went out there and ran that offense. I think it's about trust. He trusts them (the offensive line), I trust him, and I trust that o-line, and I trust Ben (Johnson) is going to put them in the right situation."

Goff only played a total of 10 snaps in Detroit's preseason opener Friday, but he was able to navigate the starting offense 79 yards in those 10 plays, while completing 3-of-4 passes for 47 yards for a 113.5 passer rating. The starters got in the end zone on a 9-yard D’Andre Swift run. It was an efficient drive, something we've seen from Goff and this offense all camp. He's been really sharp.

"Didn't want those guys out there without me," Goff said after the game about playing alongside the starters upfront.

Veteran left tackle Taylor Decker said when he heard what Goff did, it fired him up, along with center Frank Ragnow and the rest of the offensive line. That says a lot about the teammate and leader Goff has become in Detroit.


Not once did we see the five starters along Detroit's offensive line together in a single game last year. Decker missed the first half of the season with a finger/hand injury and Ragnow was gone for the year after Week 4 with a foot injury.

"We were all excited to be out there together," Decker said after the game. "First time our projected starting five has been out there for a game scenario. We just had a game mindset."

Decker said he felt there was a little swagger on offense, and it was easy to see in that first drive. Those guys upfront opened some holes in the run game and did a nice job keeping Goff clean. They are expected to be one of the best units in the league, so it was good for them to get off to a really nice start helping to lead a touchdown drive in their one possession Friday.

View photos from the Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions Preseason Week 1 game at Ford Field on Friday, Aug. 12 in Detroit, MI.


Tim Boyle and David Blough are competing for the right to be named Goff's backup at the end of training camp. Campbell admitted this week the preseason games would go a long way in determining who ultimately wins that competition. So after one preseason game in the books, where do we stand?

Still pretty even.

Both Boyle and Blough did some good things against the Falcons, and both led multiple scoring drives, but both made critical mistakes that put the defense in tough spots and led to Falcons points.

Boyle threw an interception early in the third quarter on a pass intended for wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton that wasn't a good decision by Boyle. It led to an Atlanta field goal.

Blough was trying to run out the clock late with the Lions leading 23-20 and just over two minutes left in the game, when he fumbled a snap that was recovered by the Falcons at the Lions' 33-yard line. It led to the eventual game-winning touchdown pass by the Falcons.

"Both of them I thought made some good plays, but then there's a couple of these plays that leave a bitter taste in your mouth," Campbell said. "Those two hurt (us), man."

Campbell said he was pretty pleased with how each quarterback operated the huddle and played overall. Now the critical mistakes have to be eliminated.

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