Jared Goff has had a rough go through eight games this season, but with two formidable defenses coming up it’s worth wondering how long it’ll be before he’s replaced.
The Detroit Lions knew what they were getting when they acquired Jared Goff, despite general manager Brad Holmes offering the platitude he didn’t see the former No. 1 overall pick as a stopgap. Goff won’t be the starting quarterback a day longer than he has to be, and with David Blough and a returning to health Tim Boyle behind him it’s necessary he remains the starter.
But Goff has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL thus far. An injury-thinned offensive line that hasn’t protected him and a depleted wide receiver corps hasn’t helped, but Goff is also failing to test defenses downfield at all (6.1 air yards per target).
Will Jared Goff survive the Lions next two games?
The Lions may get left tackle Taylor Decker (finger) back for Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Penei Sewell will be a natural upgrade over Matt Nelson with a move over to right tackle. Decker’s return can’t come too soon.
The Steelers are top-10 in the NFL in sacks (22), with top-end pressure (26.1 percent) and hurry (13.4 percent) rates. T.J Watt is second in the league in sacks (11.5), but Pittsburgh’s pass rush is not just him.
In Week 11, the Lions will face the Cleveland Browns. The Browns, albeit in nine games while some teams have played eight, are tied for second in the league in sacks (27, led by Myles Garrett’s league-most 12). They are also No. 2 in the league in pressure rate (28.4 percent), and No. 5 in quarterback knockdown rate (12.1 percent). As with Pittsburgh and Watt, Cleveland’s pass rush is not just Garrett.
In a set of Week 10 NFL bold predictions, Matt Johnson of Sportsnaut predicted Goff would be benched. The root of the prediction is struggling against the Steelers defense, which would force him to the bench. While that very well could happen, it leaves out a notable possibility.
Goff has missed one regular season start due to injury in his career, which was last year. But he was never sacked at the rate he has been this year during his time with the Rams, and he’s being pressured and hit at levels he never has been before.
Decker’s return will only help, but he also hasn’t played this season and rust will be a thing in his first game back. Goff is a sitting duck in the pocket, without athleticism to escape, pocket awareness or a functioning internal clock to get rid of the ball faster (assuming there’s anywhere to go with the ball).
Even the most Goff-hating Lions’ fans aren’t rooting for him to be injured. But with two formidable pass rushes coming up on the schedule and an offensive line that may have two above-average players on it, the possibility he gets banged around and banged up can’t be ignored. The move to backup quarterbacks who are barely worthy of NFL roster spots may be forced by Goff not being physically able to play sometime over the next two games.