Detroit Lions: Could Jared Goff be more than a stopgap?

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Could Goff actually carry the Lions?

The biggest difference between Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff is that Matthew has carried even poor Lions teams to respectability while Goff’s play has dipped since the Rams trip to the Super Bowl.

There are reasons Goff has not been as effective over the last two seasons, but there are also stark differences between the Lions’ outgoing franchise passer and their new soon-to-be signal-caller.

Matthew Stafford played in a variety of systems in Detroit and found ways to make them work to at least some degree of success while having almost no support from the ground game. Meanwhile, as the Rams running game has suffered over the past two seasons so has Goff.

In essence, Matthew Stafford is a smart gunslinger with an exceptional arm that can create opportunities for an offense where are there are none. However, like any quarterback, he still needs some help around him to make a legitimate championship run.

Jared Goff on the other hand has proven to be a system quarterback who can certainly contribute to a winning team when he has plenty of help around him but is incapable of actually putting a team on his back.

If coach Dan Campbell and his staff are able to build an effective ground game around Goff, then Jared has a chance to positively contribute to the Lions and help them actually win a few games, given some help from the defense as well.

But the question becomes are the Lions going to be satisfied with a quarterback who can win under certain conditions, but can’t elevate the team?

This coming season will be difficult. As yet, no one has a clue who Jared will be throwing to outside of tight end T.J. Hockenson and versatile D’Andre Swift out of the backfield. Will the offensive line be good enough to invoke their will upon opposing defenses and allow the ground game to be successful?

There is much that needs to happen before training camp begins, but considering that general manager Brad Holmes is very familiar with Goff from his years in Los Angeles, especially the last two seasons, I would imagine that while he is comfortable with Goff at the reigns as the rebuilding begins, one would think he would prefer to find an actual franchise quarterback that can carry the Lions when needed.

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So while Lions fans can certainly hope that Jared Goff will show more than he did with his previous employers in Los Angeles, it seems very likely that he will only be holding down the fort at quarterback until Brad Holmes finds Detroit’s next franchise passer.