You don’t need to be reminded again, but I’m going to do it anyways. There were many times in 2021 when Jared Goff looked like the worst quarterback in the NFL. Though he struggled at a lot of things, his lack of confidence seemed to be the biggest driver of his poor play.
This time last year you could really see that Jared Goff was not the guy that he once was. He was not the guy who was drafted first overall in 2016, and he didn’t look like the Pro Bowl quarterback who led his the Rams to the Super Bowl in 2018. The long ball was gone. He was cowering or running away under pressure, and he was locking in on targets instead of spreading the ball around.
He brought that into the first half of the season, and it really affected the Lions’ offense. Goff did step up big in the second half of the season, and you could see that confidence start to come back—particularly in performances against the Cardinals and Packers that helped the Lions win those games.
There were questions about whether or not that confidence could be fully restored. Lions quarterback coach and former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell gave us an answer to that question during the team’s offseason program.
“I’d say his confidence is at an all-time high. I really would,” Brunell said. “I mean, he is the leader of this offense, leader of this team. He is in command when he’s out there. He understands what we’re trying to do. He’s done very well. It’s the best best place I’ve ever seen him.”
Talk is just talk, however. This is the sort of thing that fans want to see for themselves to confirm. The good news is that if you wanted to see it to believe it, Goff has been showing it all summer long.
DJ Chark has been a joy to watch during camp. He’s been making beautiful catch after beautiful catch. While that in itself has been awesome to see, what’s been more awesome to see is the guy throwing that ball to him.
Just look at that pass above. There’s no way Jared Goff was throwing balls like that in 2021. Not only is it a deep ball, but it’s full-on accurate and the window for that throw wasn’t huge. Looks like a confident throw to me.
This pass isn’t just a one-time thing. Goff has been throwing great passes all camp long. Take a look at this throw to Amon St. Brown from Saturday during the team’s scrimmage at Ford Field.
Goff throws it to the sideline and it drops right in the bucket. Just a beautifully thrown pass, again in a tight window. That’s the kind of thing that guys with confidence do, guys who actually trust their pass catches, too.
While it’s tempting to just fall head over heels for this version of Goff and say that’s that and he’s back, we have to at least acknowledge that this is training camp and the pressure isn’t totally on Goff at the moment. But it should be acknowledged that, Goff was just not like this at camp last year. There is a clear difference that you can see in his demeanor and his play.
I’ve often said that I don’t think we’ve seen Jared Goff at his best yet, and there’s certainly evidence of that through two weeks of camp. We’ll get a glimpse of whether or not this confidence translates to the field on Friday for the team’s preseason opener. But, even then, it won’t mean anything if he can’t do it on Sundays.
Until then, just keep enjoying moments like this.