CHICAGO — Jeff Driskel has lived a nomadic life as a quarterback.
He won the starting job at Florida as a sophomore, but broke his leg the next year and transferred to Louisiana Tech.
The San Francisco 49ers took him in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft, but waived him before the start of the regular season.
And after spending three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, including one on injured reserve, Driskel signed with the Detroit Lions in September after he was released following a hamstring injury.
Driskel will make his first start as a Lion today in place of Matthew Stafford, who will miss his first game since 2010 with a back injury.
ESPN reported that Stafford has fractured bones in his back, which means the 26-year-old Driskel could be in line for multiple starts. This injury is to a different part of the back than the one Stafford played through late last season.
While Stafford played at close to an MVP level in the first half of the season, throwing for 2,999 yards and 19 touchdowns, Driskel has been with the team less than two months and has had far less time in the offense.
Driskel, who made five starts with the Bengals last season, was known for his dual-threat ability in college as a passer and runner. In his first season as a starter at Florida, Driskel had 413 yards rushing and four touchdowns to go with 1,646 yards passing.
The Bengals used Driskel some as a runner – he had seven carries for a career-high 32 yards in a win over the Oakland Raiders last December, his only win as starter – and Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has built offensive game plans around athletic quarterbacks before.
Bevell called plays for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson early in his career, when Wilson had four straight seasons of 90-plus carries and once threatened 1,000 yards rushing.
By waiting until Sunday to declare Stafford out, it’s possible the Lions could build an offensive game plan featuring Driskel’s athletic ability that catches the Bears off guard.
The Bears, however, have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They’ve allowed more than 17 points just three times all season and rank in the top 10 in total, scoring and rushing defense.
Along with Stafford, the Lions will be without several key defensive players today. Da’Shawn Hand is out with a sprained ankle, Tracy Walker will miss his second straight game with a knee injury and Romeo Okwara is out with a groin injury.
Miles Killebrew, Michael Jackson and Beau Benzschawel also are out for the Lions today.
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.
Published at Sun, 10 Nov 2019 16:57:03 +0000