Short-timer or staple? Analysts predict the future for Jared Goff in Detroit

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

There are two camps of thought when it comes to the Detroit Lions acquisition of quarterback Jared Goff.

The first group believes he’s a temporary solution, a bridge to the future with an unknown franchise passer selected in an upcoming draft. The other, based on the fact general manager Brad Holmes played an extensive role in Goff being drafted No. 1 overall by the Rams when Homes was the team’s college scouting director, believe the Lions could view the 26-year-old as the long-term solution. 

In reality, it’s probably both. Goff will get another opportunity to prove he’s a legitimate franchise quarterback, with the Lions holding the draft picks and financial flexibility to go a different direction in a year or two. 

NFL Network analysts Brian Billick and David Carr are both of the opinion Goff will get his career back on track in Detroit. 

“Jared Goff, we know he can play,” Billick, the former coach who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, said. “This guy has been to a Super Bowl. It’ll be interesting to see what they wrap around him because, clearly, Detroit has a lot of work to do.

“You just alluded to how difficult it is to evaluate a quarterback separate to what’s going on around him, so yeah, they’re going to have to build some things around him,” Billick continued. “But it gives him an opportunity to start fresh with a team that clearly — I can’t imagine they traded for him and what they’ve given up, without knowing, ‘OK, we’re going to wrap everything around this guy.’ That’s gotta be exciting for him.”

More: Why did Lions’ Dan Campbell fill out his staff with so many ex-players?

Carr, who was also a No. 1 overall pick, agrees Goff possesses obvious talent. Carr specifically cited Goff’s ability to make intermediate throws as an indicator of his ability. The biggest thing, in the player-turned-analyst’s mind, is whether or not Goff can find the consistency he lacked in 2020. 

“I think that’s really what I look at when I look at Jared is he’d be excellent some days,” Carr said. “He’d be an almost 80%-completion guy. Just look over the course of this last year, just go back and look at his completion percentage. It would go 45, 50, 80, you know, back to 62, up to 73. So it was kinda all over the map.”

Goff completed 70% or better of his passes in eight games last season, but also had four performances under 60%. Coming off the bench after limited practice the week before, he completed a season-low 47.4% in a playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

For the season, he actually completed a career-best 67.1% of his throws, but the average distance of his passes was a career-low, ranking 32nd out of 35 qualifying passers. He also finished in the bottom half of the league in interception rate. 

More: Former Lion Ndamukong Suh pumps up Detroit to incoming QB Jared Goff

Overall, Billick and Carr see the trade as a win-win for the Lions and Rams, particularly with the draft picks the Lions acquired in the swap. Both are also excited to see what MatStafford can accomplish outside of the shackles of Detroit. 

“It gives him a new venue, which clearly Matthew Stafford needs,” Billick said. “I’m excited to see what Matthew does in L.A. with Sean McVay because Matthew has had — who has had to throw the ball more the last 10 years than Matthew Stafford? Maybe Drew Brees and even that has changed and diminished. Because they’ve had no running game, they’ve not been good, he’s had to carry that team on his back from Day 1. Now coming to a team where there’s more balance, the way Sean McVay will move him, I could see Stafford being a 500- to 550-throw guy. I think it’s going to be fun to watch. 

Carr chipped in calling Stafford a top player at the position.

“I think the Rams are in position where they’re obviously going to be improved just because I think Matt is a top-10 quarterback,” Carr said. “If you just stripped them all away from everything, you took them away from their systems, you took them away from their jerseys and you just threw all these quarterbacks out on the field, took them into the meeting room, I’d probably say he’s a top-10 guy.”

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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