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NOTEBOOK: Goff doubtful, Decker questionable for Lions-Browns

Head coach Dan Campbell said he was going to make a decision on his starting quarterback for Sunday's game in Cleveland on Friday. He wasn't going to wait until Sunday morning.

It appears that decision has been made.

The Lions have listed Jared Goff as doubtful to play Sunday with the strained oblique he suffered last week in Pittsburgh, which means Tim Boyle is likely to make his first career start.

"It's been a long journey," Boyle said Friday. "Just kind of reminiscing on my story starting football when I was six-years-old and here I am as a 27-year-old and still blessed to have this opportunity. It's about preparation and always staying ready. I'll be ready to go."

Boyle said getting the first-team reps all week has really helped prepare him for his first start. Physically being in there and being able to see the defense has been big for him. He's ready and excited for the opportunity.

Boyle was the backup in Green Bay the last three seasons before signing with Detroit this offseason on a one-year deal. He completed 22-of-39 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown in three preseason appearances before breaking his thumb in the last preseason game vs. Indianapolis. He returned to practice from injured reserve last week and has taken first-team reps all week.

"I would say Wednesday he looked a little rusty, which you would expect," Campbell said. "He came back yesterday and looked better. I would expect he looks even better (Friday). I would say he's on track.

"Let me say this about Tim Boyle, he lacks zero confidence I can tell you that. He's got plenty of confidence, and so that's a good thing. So, we'll see where this game goes. If he's our guy and see where the weather takes us, see where he takes us, but I know this, we have to be smart with him and let him work into a rhythm."

Boyle's thrown just four passes in the regular season in his career, and that was back in 2019. But he's got a big arm, and maybe the Lions utilize that with some more throws down the field Sunday.

What could certainly help Boyle's first start go well will be having the services of starting left tackle Taylor Decker, who appears to have avoided a serious elbow injury this week. Decker practiced Wednesday, but sat out Thursday. He was able to return to practice Friday, and Campbell seemed optimistic Decker could play.

"I think he's good," Campbell said of Decker. "I think it was not as bad as we thought it could be. So, I think – I think we're fine. I think he's going to be good to go. Look, he's tough, man. He's going to handle this well. He got it checked out and should be good."

Cleveland has a terrific defense led by edge rushers Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, so having the services of both Decker and right tackle Penei Sewell would be huge for Boyle.


The Browns activated running back Nick Chubb off the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, and he's expected to play Sunday against Detroit after missing last week's game against New England.

Chubb has played seven games and is third in the NFL with 721 rushing yards. He leads the NFL in average yards per carry at 6.0.

"I would say it's very similar talking about Najee Harris last week," Campbell said. "This team, they'll try to run this offense through Chubb. I think he's a special player. I think if there is such a thing as being underrated he may be one of these underrated backs in the league. You could argue he's the best or top two or something. I just think this guy is a special back.

"We know they're going to give him the ball and carry the load. Even in the games they haven't won he's averaging over 25 carries. They're going to commit to it, especially in the conditions we're getting ready to face. I know this, if we don't have population around the football with this guy, or we don't try to wrap up and bide some time for our teammates to get there, this guy will make you look bad."

Job No. 1 for Detroit's defense Sunday is not allowing Chubb to go off for a big game. Harris had 105 yards last week for Pittsburgh, but it took 26 carries to get there, and he didn't have a touchdown.

Something tells me the Lions would feel pretty good about a similar result this week against Chubb.


The Browns rank fifth in total defense, fifth against the run and 11th against the pass heading into Sunday's matchup, but they are coming off arguably their worst performance of the year in a 45-7 loss to New England last week.

Which Browns' defense will show up this week?

Either way, the Lions are definitely preparing for the tough task of trying to contain Cleveland's talented edge-rushing duo of Garrett and Clowney.

"When you talk about Clowney and Garrett, those guys can wreck a party," running backs coach and assistant head coach Duce Staley said this week. "A lot of people look at them as pass rushers, but those guys can stop the run, also. They can wreak havoc."

Garrett leads the NFL with 13.0 sacks on the year. Clowney has 3.5 sacks to go along with 12 quarterback hits.

It looks like a very important matchup this week on the edges with Clowney and Garrett vs. Decker (questionable) and Sewell.

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