The Detroit Lions didn’t know what they’d be getting into when they were forced to start backup quarterback Jeff Driskel a few weeks back, but it’s safe to say they’ve seen a decent return on their investment.
Driskel was one of the most unsuspecting additions for the Lions this offseason, and when they added him, safe to say nobody saw him having to make this type of impact on the team. So far, though, Driskel has done a nice job to hold down the fort without Matthew Stafford in the mix.
While Driskel’s numbers won’t blow anyone away, he’s still thrown for 478 yards, passed for 3 touchdowns and only 1 interception so far this season while rushing for 1 touchdown in just two games. He’s steadied the ship, and arguably, it hasn’t been Driskel’s fault when the Lions have lost. As expected there have been some steps down from Driskel to Stafford including third down plays, but that isn’t to be unexpected.
More than anything else, there’s been the same defensive breakdowns costing Driskel that Stafford was experiencing which is probably the biggest reason the Lions are 0-2 with the new quarterback under center.
So far, Driskel admits the experience has helped him a ton as he gets going on his career.
“I think every experience you get good or bad you can use it down the line,” Driskel said to the media recently. “Not even just (in the) game, drive, things like that, you gain experience and can put things in the memory bank for the future. It’s helping me improve.”
With Driskel playing well, the Lions could have unearthed an answer to the backup quarterback question that has troubled them for a while.
Perhaps the best thing about the quarterback is the fact that he isn’t satisfied with the team being average under his leadership.
“That’s what we’re all here to do is win football games. We’ve been close in these last couple games, but that’s the NFL,” Driskel said. “All games are close and we’ve got to find a way to win. We’ve just got to make a few more plays because in the NFL, these games do just come down to a couple plays. We just got to find a way to make them.”
Driskel has stepped forward and seized the moment, which has been great for the Lions to see.
How Matthew Stafford Has Helped Jeff Driskel
Even though Stafford isn’t on the field playing, his eyes have been a valuable tool for Driskel to use. Thus far, Driskel says Stafford has been able to stay engaged with helping him in a big way and learning how to work through things on the field.
“He’s there every day. He’s in my ear in a good way. He’s bouncing things off of me. Any advice I can get from him is more than welcome because he’s done it at a high level for a long time,” Driskel said. “Leader of this team. Even though he hasn’t been out there for the last couple weeks, he’s still trying to do everything he can to help this team win games.”
With Driskel, it seems as if Stafford has a good chemistry. The offense hasn’t taken many noticeable steps backward on the field, and Driskel has been able to keep things moving in the right direction. That’s positive, and a big reason could likely be the influence of Stafford on the young quarterback.
Having Stafford and Driskel working well together might simply be another advantage as it relates to the relationship continuing for the free agent to be quarterback.
Jeff Driskel’s NFL Stats
Following college, Driskel was selected by the San Francisco 49ers but did not make the team. He latched on with the Cincinnati Bengals where he would become the emergency starter in October of 2018. Due to the loss of Andy Dalton, Driskel was pressed into duty and did a nice job for the Bengals, putting up 1,003 yards, 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Though his team was 1-4, Driskel showed the goods to being a capable backup who can give the team a chance in situations just like the one he will face in Detroit.
Driskel has also rushed for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground coming into this season, proving just how difficult he can be to game plan for. He can scramble a bit, which is an added wrinkle to his game which gives him a bit of an advantage in the pocket against teams that haven’t seen him.
With an intriguing skill set and some comfort that has been unearthed in Detroit, it seems Driskel could be setting himself up to remain with the team in the future given how he has managed to make the most of his chance in 2019.