The 2021 offseason has been one of massive change for the Detroit Lions. And there’s none bigger than one made under center for the Pride.
That following a trade that sent longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams and Pro Bowl passer Jared Goff to the Motor City. With Stafford’s 12-year career in Detroit now in the rearview mirror, the Lions are in the midst of a rebuilding campaign that features Goff as its current centerpiece.
If Detroit is going to have any sort of meaningful success this upcoming season, the 26-year old passer will be at the heart of it. And Goff’s ability to quickly learn and implement new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn’s scheme this summer will be the key.
And the early results seem promising. Here’s what Tim Twentyman wrote recently for DetroitLions.com about Goff’s performance through OTAs so far this offseason …
“Quarterback Jared Goff was really sharp the last time we saw him on the field in last Thursday’s open OTA practice. He was distributing the ball quickly and accurately to all three levels of the field … Goff looks to be picking up Lynn’s system really well. He’s been moving guys around and getting players in place, and looks to really be on top of the offense.”
Goff begins his era in Detroit with a massive chip on his shoulder. That after the Rams practically gave him away despite the impressive resume the former number one overall selection in the 2016 draft put together during his five-year run with the franchise.
The veteran passer earned two Pro Bowl nominations while in Los Angeles (2017, 2018). Goff also led the team to post four straight-winning seasons under head coach Sean McVay’s offensive system, resulting in a Super Bowl appearance in 2018.
But Goff is also coming off a down season, recording 3,952 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in 2020. Despite his low production, the Rams still finished the year with a 10-6, earning themselves a postseason bid and a playoff win against the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round.
Now in Detroit, there are several questions whether Goff has the pieces around him to find success in 2021. Those concerns mainly surround his wide receiver corps, which is full of unproven players and risky free agents signed to one-year deals.
Goff should benefit from having one of the most talented offensive lines in the NFL protecting him. That after the Lions used the seventh overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft to acquire the top offensive lineman of the class, Oregon tackle Penei Sewell. Goff also has a Pro Bowl tight end in T.J. Hockenson and second-year running back D’Andre Swift to lean on.
While it may feel like the Detroit Lions are building from the ground up, and that process has only just begun, the presence of an impressive new coaching staff in Motown and a motivated Jared Goff under center could be enough to field an impressive performance in 2021 that exceeds expectations.