Since his arrival in Detroit Jared Goff has had a less than favorable outlook, let’s pause and take a realistic look at his potential.
A little up and a lot of down was the story for Jared Goff in his debut season with the Detroit Lions. Goff off course came over from the Rams in last offseason’s trade that sent Matthew Stafford the other way, and the Lions essentially got a second first-round pick for taking on the 2016 No. 1 overall pick’s bloated contract.
After a rough start, Goff finished the 2021 season well. He posted a 107.1 passer rating over his final five starts, and the Lions went 3-2 in those games. If not for a back-to-back game interruption due to COVID-19 and a knee injury respectively, that good stretch would have been a larger sample. The transition to head coach Dan Campbell calling plays, and tight ends coach (now offensive coordinator) Ben Johnson taking on a larger role, correlated to Goff’s improved play.
Jared Goff may not be the Lions’ quarterback long-term, but he can be the guy for the present
Everyone in the Motor City understands that Goff is not a superstar quarterback, and he certainly does not have the talent to take the Lions to the next level on his own. But he has shown he can function well when there’s talent around him.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson weren’t on the field together all that much down the stretch of the 2021 season, as St. Brown was one of the most productive pass catchers in the league. Swift missed basically five games with a shoulder injury, and Hockenson missed the final five games after thumb surgery. All three healthy heading into next season is an intriguing possibility, before the Lions add anything to the offense this offseason.
The Lions hold two first round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, and many are quick to jump at the idea of them selecting a quarterback in the first round.
This is not the direction to go for general manager Brad Holmes. Give Goff a fully healthy season under center, with a fully healthy offensive line and skill players around him. Then it’ll be fair to definitively evaluate him.
There’s no telling who will be on the board when the Lions go on the clock with the final pick of the first round, so why jump the gun on a risky quarterback? ESPN’s Eric Woodyard outlined the decision.
“It’s pretty much a lock that Jared Goff will be running the show again next season, but what does that mean for the team moving forward?” Woodyard said. “Many draft experts have said this year’s class lacks any elite quarterbacks, so with the Lions drafting No. 2 and No. 32, it wouldn’t make sense for them to use their top pick on a young quarterback, so then it all depends on who is there at No. 32.”
Goff should get a chance with better structure around him next season. So let’s not run him out of town just yet.