The Detroit Lions have some tough decisions to make for the primary backup role behind starting quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Following the poor performance posted by Detroit Lions‘ quarterback David Fales against the Buffalo Bills on Friday night, the backup passer situation in the Motor City seemed to be straightforward. Despite being signed to the team just two weeks ago, veteran Josh Johnson appears to be the clear cut candidate for the primary role behind starter Matthew Stafford in Motown. But one insider disagrees.
Fales completed just 3 of his 8 passes versus the Bills. That after posting an impressive performance the week prior against the Houston Texans (12 of 19, 226 yards, one touchdown). In the Lions’ first preseason matchup against the New England Patriots, Fales completed just 35.7 percent of his passes and threw an interception. That kind of inconsistency has likely sealed his fate.
On the other hand, Johnson has recorded more consistent back-to-back performances. Against the Texans, the 33-year old completed 9 of his 18 passing attempts for 85 yards and a pick as the starter. In Friday’s matchup with the Bills, Johnson came in after Fales and went 5 for 10 for 71 yards. He appeared to have a better command of the offense.
Although neither Fales nor Johnson are ideal candidates for the primary backup position, they have at least been able to play. The same can not be said for Tom Savage, who has been sidelined due to an apparent concussion he suffered against the Patriots. As it was unclear when Savage might return, Johnson was subsequently signed. Yet, one Lions’ insider believes Savage still is the favorite to be the team’s primary backup quarterback.
Here’s what Detroit Free Press and Lions’ beat writer Dave Birkett wrote recently about the team’s depth chart behind Stafford going into the new season.
“Savage appears very close to returning, and given the time he has already spent in coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense and his past history with quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan, I’d guess he’s still the backup at this point. But if his concussion history is a concern, perhaps that pushes the Lions to explore [Brian] Hoyer even more if he becomes available.”
Birkett mentions New England Patriots’ quarterback Brian Hoyer as someone to watch for on the waiver wire next weekend. The veteran backup and experience passer could be on the roster bubble in New England due to the play of rookie Jarrett Stidham. The Lions have a clear affinity for former Patriots and Hoyer has 37 NFL starts under his belt.
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As for Tom Savage, the 29-year old is a former fourth-round selection by the Houston Texans back in 2014. He’s started a total of nine games during his five-year career so far, splitting time with the New Orleans Saints, the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals just last year. Before suffering a head injury against the Pats, Savage completed 2 of his 3 passes for 40 yards and was sacked three times.