Lions backup QB Nate Sudfeld practices, starts to learn offense

Tim Boyle and David Blough had every opportunity to become the Lions backup quarterback for this season. Instead both were released and the Lions signed Nate Sudfeld who was cut due to a numbers issue by the 49ers.

“They just didn’t quite make the jump we were expecting them to make,’’ Lions GM Brad Holmes said at a Thursday press conference.

It has been a whirlwind for Sudfeld who caught a red-eye flight on Tuesday night in San Francisco, landed in Detroit at 5 a.m. Wednesday and went straight to the Lions facility for meetings and practice. He managed nine hours of sleep Wednesday night and was feeling rested and ready for practice on Thursday morning.

“It happened fast, but I’m super-pumped to be here,’’ said Sudfeld who wore No. 12 which was last worn by Boyle.

He’s got a lot to learn and a short time to learn it with the regular season preparation starting next week. The season opener is Sept. 11 against the Eagles at Ford Field.

Sudfeld, who is in his seventh NFL season, has learned from other quarterbacks while at the 49ers, Eagles and Washington.

“A lot of concepts I’ve definitely run and done before, there’s a lot of new verbiage and memorization things so definitely going to continue to study, definitely a lot of carryover,’’ Sudfeld said. “There’s some different concepts I haven’t done before but I love how much we do at the line of scrimmage and how much confidence they have in Jared (Goff) and the quarterbacks getting us into the right play. Really looking forward to the opportunity.’’

Sudfeld, 28, knows Goff although they’ve never been on the same team. They have the same agent, both are from northern California and came out for the NFL draft in the same year. Occasionally they have worked out together in the offseason.

“It’s been a beautiful journey that I’ve been fortunate to be a part of and just try to get better every year, the older you get you just want to stack years and keep improving as a player,’’ Sudfeld said. “All the other stuff it’s just a matter of time, it will take care of itself.’’

Holmes didn’t address the situation, but if Blough clears waivers he could be signed to the Lions’ practice squad.

“We did what is best for the organization at this time. There were a lot of different options. You can trade a bunch of draft capital for a backup quarterback, there’s a lot of different options. We did the best thing for Detroit,’’ Holmes said.

Lions trim roster to 53 with no major surprises; Boyle, Davis released

No huge surprises were found among the Lions who were released or waived on Tuesday to cut the roster down to an NFL-mandated 53 players.

The roster is fluid and could change daily. Also, the Lions can bring back 16 players to the practice squad on Wednesday, but they must clear waivers first.

Coach Dan Campbell made it clear on Monday that the Lions will be searching for possible pickups especially since they have the No. 2 chance to sign players (due to last season’s 3-13-1 record).

Since quarterback Tim Boyle was released, it appears that David Blough has won the backup quarterback role at least for now.

Wide receiver Tom Kennedy had a good camp but could have been a victim of numbers and was not solid on special teams. Wide receivers Maurice Alexander and Kalil Pimpleton (the juggler on “Hard Knocks”) were also waived and could reappear on the practice squad. Wide receivers who made the cut are DJ Chark, Josh Reynolds, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond and Quintez Cephus.

Tight end Devin Funchess didn’t make the roster. The Lions are going with tight ends T.J. Hockenson, Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra and James Mitchell.

LInebacker Jarrad Davis, who the Lions were giving a second chance, was released. Davis was a first-round pick of the Lions in 2017 but they didn’t pick up his fifth-year option in May 2020 and he signed with the Giants.

Kicker Riley Patterson was waived. Patterson and Austin Seibert seemed to be neck and neck in the position battle. Seibert was 10 of 12 on field goals for the Lions in 2021.

The Lions will open the season on Sept. 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field.

PLACED ON RESERVE/PUP

CB Jerry Jacobs

RELEASED

QB Tim Boyle

LB Jarrad Davis

TE Devin Funchess

DL Bruce Hector

RB Justin Jackson

T Kendall Lamm

T Dan Skipper 

WAIVED

WR Maurice Alexander

CB Cedric Boswell

TE Derrick Deese

T Obinna Eze

CB Mark Gilbert

LB James Houston

RB Godwin Igwebuike

WR Tom Kennedy

CB A.J. Parker

K Riley Patterson

T Darrin Paulo

WR Kalil Pimpleton

LB Anthony Pittman

CB Saivion Smith 

WAIVED INJURED

DL Eric Banks

WR Trinity Benson

DL Jashon Cornell

G Kevin Jarvis

S C.J. Moore

Lions ponder roster decisions with cuts to 53 due Tuesday at 4 p.m.

With the deadline for making the roster cuts to 53, just over 24 hours away, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said that no moves had been made. Campbell addressed the media, breaking away from a meeting with GM Brad Holmes, early Monday afternoon.

NFL cuts are due at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Campbell said there could be tougher decisions than last year when he and Holmes were just getting started.

“These are difficult. Ultimately we’re probably going to have to let go of some players who were here all last year, that we depended on, did everything we asked them to do and produced for us last year. That’s a sign of progress,’’ Campbell said.

The coach spoke in vague terms, no names.

After the preseason loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday, he said he had gotten clarity on the backup quarterback situation. That could mean two things – he’s good with either David Blough or Tim Boyle as Jared Goff’s backup. Or, he doesn’t feel either one can handle the job if Goff goes down.

“Whoever is out there you’ve got to know it’s a clear upgrade from what’s already in this building because if it’s not, why would you do it,’’ Campbell said.

Holmes and Campbell are watching all team cuts for anyone they feel can improve the roster.

“ We’re looking anywhere we feel we can upgrade since we’re 2 on the claim list. With Brad we were just discussing. We’re looking anywhere— we’re looking at halfback, at tight end, we’re looking at O-line, we’re looking at D-line. We’re looking at anything that is available if we feel like it will truly upgrade us and it’s somebody that we feel will fit our culture and what we’re about. We’re open to anything,’’ Campbell said.
While they will be able to sign 16 players to the practice squad, those guys will have to clear waivers first.

“There are a number of guys we are going to have to move on from that we would love to have back in this building. They didn’t quite make the 53, but we’ve had a lot of time invested with them, we know what they’re about and we understand the growth. There is a comfort level with some of those guys you bring them back if something does happen you feel like they’re plug and play and there’s comfort in that,’’ Campbell said.

“You always want that but you also want to know are there some players who are out there, who aren’t in this building right now that you believe can come in and have a tremendous amount of upside and maybe can develop into true starters at some point. It’s a balancing act that you have to have,’’ he added.

The deadline is looming. Stay tuned.