The Detroit Lions place in the quarterback market over the next few years is somewhat to be determined, but Dan Campbell has an against the grain take on the big picture for the team at the position.
Will the Detroit Lions take a quarterback in the 2022 draft? Or will they wait until 2023? Who might be available as a veteran option next offseason? Those are the questions the Lions have at the most important position on the field, and getting it right or wrong stands to determine head coach Dan Campbell’s longevity in his job.
Campbell talked to reporters on Thursday. The mixed messages about the quarterback position continued, as he reiterated how he likes Jared Goff but also said he likes the quarterback prospects in this draft.
As candid as he generally is, Campbell is not going to say he doesn’t believe in Goff as the starting quarterback for next season. Any quarterback the Lions draft would probably benefit from sitting for a year, and behind Goff right now is Tim Boyle and David Blough.
Dan Campbell offers contrarian take on quarterback position
The days of quarterbacks like Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson winning a Super Bowl ring as a passenger to a great defense are gone, shy of occasional abherrations like Nick Foles a few years ago. Having a good defense is important, and the Lions certainly have work to do there, but you don’t win a Super Bowl these days without a quarterback who can, in a broad term, elevate a situation. Goff is not that type of quarterback, and the Super Bowl he played in with the Rams was the point that fully exposed it.
On the topic of needing an elite quarterback, like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, etc. to have success, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Campbell had a different thought.
"No, I don’t think you need that,” “I think that those guys like that are obviously, they’re special. And they certainly can give you a better chance. But no, I don’t believe you have to have one of those guys to have sustained success.”"
Spoken like a coach who doesn’t have an elite quarterback, and isn’t seeing options that look likely to immediately change that in the 2022 draft. The pieces have to be in place around a top-end quarterback, as the Lions proved over 12 seasons with Matthew Stafford, but the evidence to contradict Campbell doesn’t need to be elaborated on.
Campbell may be trying to talk himself into the idea you don’t need an elite or special quarterback to have high-level/sustained success. But he had to say what he said publicly in the current moment, and he has to know it’s not true.