Allen Park — With Jeff Driskel contending with a hamstring injury throughout this week, the Detroit Lions will start third-string quarterback David Blough against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving, the team announced Wednesday evening.
Blough, an undrafted free agent who was acquired in a trade from the Cleveland Browns between the preseason finale and the start of the regular season, has been active several games as Detroit's backup, but has yet to play a snap.
In the preseason, Blough completed 25 of his 43 passes for 271 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"There's a sense of responsibility," Blough told the Detroit News in September, when he was temporarily serving as Matthew Stafford's backup. "You want to be there to help Stafford with whatever he needs. You've also got to stay loose, too. God forbid anything happens, you've got to be ready to go, prepared and know what to do to help the team win."
The Lions had been impressed by Blough when scouting him during the pre-draft process, and jumped at the opportunity to acquire him for the low cost of a swap of seventh-round draft picks in 2021.
"I certainty felt he did a good job in our meeting handling the information that was given him," quarterback coach Sean Ryan said shortly after the trade. "Part of the evaluation is handling the football stuff that gets presented to him and his recall and how he can give it back to you. I thought he did a great job with that. He showed really great football intelligence, so that impressed me.
"Then the workout itself, he did a good job first of all getting a bunch of guys to go out and run routes for him," Ryan continued. "We were down in his hometown and he was able to show some leadership putting that together, which I thought was a good start. And throughout the workout, I thought he showed good arm strength. He could make all the throws, was accurate, completed a lot of balls. Overall, I thought it was a strong workout in the classroom and on the field."
This will mark the first time the Lions have started three quarterbacks in a season since 2010, Stafford's second year in the NFL.
In Stafford's stead, Driskel started three games, completing 62 of 105 passes for 685 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for 151 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
Earlier this week, Bears coach Matt Nagy was asked how his team would prepare for the possibility of Blough getting the starting nod and Nagy said the team's focus would be on preparing for Driskel.
Over his final two seasons at Purdue, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Blough completed 65.8 percent of his throws with 34 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
In the unlikely scenario in which both Blough and Driskel are incapacitated during the game, Lions coach Matt Patricia said the team has multiple emergency quarterback options.
The most likely bet remains tight end Logan Thomas, who played the position in college and during the early stages of his NFL career. In recent weeks, he's twice lined up under center in fake punt looks.
"I’ve been the emergency (quarterback) since I converted to tight end, so I’ve always been OK with cadence, I’ve always been OK with taking snaps, just haven’t played the position," Thomas said. “Nothing’s been said to me (this week), but I understand the game plan pretty well. I promise you, if I have to go back there I’m going to just sling it and whatever happens, happens."