For the first time since 2008, the Detroit Lions will kick off the regular season with a quarterback not named Matthew Stafford as their starter. And it appears the player destined to replace Stafford under center this September will be Jared Goff.
While Goff has had more success during his short time in the NFL than Stafford, the latter is considered the more talented passer. So trying to sell that the 5-11 Lions will somehow be more successful with a lesser passer at the helm could be considered an act of futility.
Yet, there’s some hope that a change of scenery combined with the full support of the Lions’ front office and coaching staff will unlock Goff’s true potential. But until the games start, no one really knows. And at least one NFL analyst will need some major convincing that Goff can turn things around in Motown.
While suggesting that Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields should be the first-round pick by the Lions in his recent mock draft, NFL.com writer Adam Rank threw some major shade at Goff. Here’s what Rank wrote about the former Rams’ passer …
"“I know you just traded for Jared Goff. But he’s regressed the last couple of years … with offensive guru Sean McVay. Maybe Goff can thrive with Anthony Lynn in Detroit. You know, the coach who was in charge during Justin Herbert’s amazing rookie season? But I think we’ve seen enough of Goff to know what we’re getting. Goff would be fine as, like, the backup in Kansas City or something.”"
When it comes to Goff’s current level of play, the reality is we don’t know what kind of player the former top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft will prove himself to be outside of McVay’s offensive system. He certainly possesses the physical tools to be an elite NFL quarterback. And Goff’s proven he can play at a high level.
There are two opposing forces at play here. One is Goff’s history of success, albeit with McVay leading the way. That includes two Pro Bowl bids, four straight-winning seasons, and a Super Bowl appearance in a short five-year career.
The second? Goff’s declining play over the past two seasons and the fact McVay and the Rams seemed more than happy to part ways with a 26-year old franchise quarterback whom they inked to a four-year, $134 million contract extension less than two years ago.
Not including his rookie year where he played just seven games, Goff has posted a career-low in touchdowns, quarterback rating, and QBR, plus a career-high in interceptions at points over the past two seasons.
Despite Jared Goff’s dip in play, the Los Angeles Rams still finished each of the past two seasons with winning records. The Rams went 9-7 in 2019 and 10-6 last year. The Detroit Lions are coming off three-straight losing seasons with Matthew Stafford under center for all but eight games over that span.