The Detroit Lions took a bold, new step in shaping the direction of their franchise in 2021. And while the hiring of general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell should have the biggest impact on the current rebuild, it’s the change under center that will undoubtedly have a bigger impact on the field.
The Lions traded longtime franchise quarterback and the number one overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, Matthew Stafford, to the Los Angeles Rams. In exchange, the Motor City got a slew of high draft picks included first-rounders in both 2022 and 2023. Detroit also got a former number one overall draft pick (2016) in return in two-time Pro Bowl passer Jared Goff.
And while many initially viewed the addition of Goff in the blockbuster trade as little more than a minor add-on, the Lions’ brass envisioned him as the team’s new franchise quarterback and immediate replacement for Stafford. At least for this upcoming season.
Goff has embraced the city of Detroit and it appears many Pride fans have reciprocated that love. The newest passer in Motown cracked the top 50 of the NFLPA’s Top 50 NFL Player Sales List from March 1, 2021-May 31, 2021 coming in at No. 49.
So, the Goff hype is real. But is it warranted? And are some fans setting themselves up for more disappointment? After all, the 26-year old passer was all but scapegoated out of Los Angeles after the team posted a 10-6 record last year but failed to get past the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Last year, Goff struggled with turnovers, drawing the ire from his head coach, Sean McVay, after he committed 10 turnovers (six interceptions, four lost fumbles) in a four-game span. That kind of inconsistent play seems to be one of the main reasons Los Angeles was so willing to move on from Goff and multiple high draft picks to place a 33-year old Stafford under center.
So what are fans in Detroit really getting from their new franchise passer? And should they be worried? Here’s what SB Nation’s Jeremy Reisman wrote recently about Goff in an article titled 10 things I think I know after Detroit Lions training camp …
” … Goff was consistently too timid in passing the ball downfield. Coaches may praise him for taking care of the ball in those situations, but when all you’re doing is looking for a quick completion or checking down, eventually the defense adjusts and will jump those short routes. We saw exactly that happen in camp, as Goff became a bit more turnover-heavy in the final couple weeks of camp.”
Jared Goff joins a new team in Detroit that has a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, new quarterbacks coach, and an entirely new wide receiver corps made up mostly of free agents on one-year deals and rookies. On paper, that would seem to be a recipe for disaster. And in all likelihood, it will be.