Skip to main content

Will Lions address the backup QB position this offseason?

Every option is on the table for Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn in his quest to find quarterback Matthew Stafford's backup next season, whether that's spending in free agency or drafting a quarterback.

The Lions shuffled through 11 different quarterbacks on the roster in 2019, and had three different starters during the regular season. The Lions lost Stafford after eight games due to a back injury. The team turned to Jeff Driskel to replace Stafford. Driskel started three games, going 0-3 in the process, before a hamstring injury would ultimately place him on injured reserve. The team then turned to undrafted rookie free agent David Blough, who started the last five games of the season and went 0-5 as a starter.

The Lions went 0-8 without Stafford this season, which begs the question, is it time for the Lions to spend more resources to secure the quarterback position behind Stafford?

"I think we went through a lot of quarterbacks this year," Quinn said during his season-ending press conference. "I think eventually when we got down to it, we made the switch earlier in the season from Josh (Johnson) to Jeff Driskel. Then when Matthew got hurt you know Jeff went in there and the three games he started, I would say that he probably played good enough to win two out of those three. We didn't win those games and that was probably a byproduct of the defense not having a great day or special teams not having a great day. Jeff went in there and I thought played at a decent level to help us win the game.

"Then you get down to your third string quarterback and listen, David Blough is a rookie free agent that we brought in as a developmental guy and all of a sudden he has to start at the end of the season. He wasn't perfect, but the experience that he gained, the plays that he made were pretty impressive. Now did he have some mistakes? He sure did. He's going to learn from those. So that's something we're going to look back at and see what we need to do going forward in the future."

Driskel completed 59.0 percent of his passes in three games for 685 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. He's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Blough completed 54 percent of his passes in five games for 984 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. He's under contract for the 2020 season, along with Kyle Sloter, who finished the year as Blough's backup.

The Lions could decide to secure a veteran with more experience in free agency. That obviously comes with a higher price tag, but New Orleans is probably the best example of that strategy working to their advantage. They paid Teddy Bridgewater to be Drew Brees' backup, and when Brees injured his thumb early in the year, Bridgewater stepped in and won all five of his starts, keeping the Saints on their path to the playoffs.

"Yeah, possibly," Quinn said, when asked if spending more on a veteran free agent might be in the cards. "It's something that's fairly team by team.

"Sometimes when you have a higher-priced starter, it is a little bit more difficult to do what you're doing. If you have a quarterback under his rookie contract, it's a little bit easier financially to do that. But that's something we'll look at and evaluate this offseason for sure."

There could be a number of veteran free agents with starting experience hitting the market, including Marcus Mariota, Case Keenum, Chase Daniel and Blake Bortles.

Quinn could ultimately decide to draft and develop a quarterback, which he hasn't ruled out as a possibility, either.

"Yeah, obviously with where we're drafting, we're going to have to pay attention to everybody," Quinn said. "I think previously when we were drafting in the teens and 20's you can really not spend a lot of time on the top seven or eight because with what it would cost to get up there, you would really never do it.

"So I think this year with where we're drafting, we're going to have to take a closer look at everything and just know really from A to Z, 1 to 250 the draft, rather than not focusing on just the guys we're going to be picking. Sure, quarterbacks included."

Whatever Quinn decides to do, it's expected the quarterback room goes through some kind of transformation this offseason as the Lions try to better equip themselves for the possibility of having to win games without Stafford under center.

Related Content