Jared Goff is not likely to be the Detroit Lions’ quarterback this time next year, but he’s now clearly entering a make-or-break year in 2022.
Not that expectations were high, given what was around him. But Jared Goff was legitimately one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL for a significant stretch in the early part of last season. If the Detroit Lions had a capable replacement behind him, he would surely have been benched.
With head coach Dan Campbell taking over offensive play calling after the bye week, and role shifts for offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn and tight ends coach Ben Johnson, Goff’s level of play improved (and that might be putting it lightly).
Over his final five starts, a seven-week stretch interrupted by a positive COVID test and a knee injury costing him one game apiece, Goff was one of the highest-rated passers in the NFL (107.1) with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Jared Goff is clearly and obviously entering a make-or-break 2022 season
They wouldn’t say much of anything else, but Lions general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell have sounded open to Goff remaining the team’s quarterback into the future. Logic says otherwise, but the Lions are now looking to the 2023 draft for a young quarterback after not drafting one this year. They didn’t even, to this point, so much as sign an undrafted free agent signal caller.
It was clear Goff and Lynn didn’t connect last season, and Johnson’s elevation to passing game coordinator was good for the quarterback down the stretch. Johnson is now the offensive coordinator, which was a start to getting a full season of good play from Goff in 2022.
The Lions will ideally have their projected starting five offensive lineman together all season next season, which they didn’t for a single snap in 2021. Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Penei Sewell will have a case as one of the best offensive lines in the league.
The Lions signed DJ Chark in free agency and re-signed Josh Reynolds, who has a history with Goff from their days with the Rams and was also helpful in Goff’s late-season improvement last year. Then in the first round of the draft, Holmes moved up aggressively to get Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams.
Jeff Kerrr of CBS Sports nicely outlined the situation around Goff, even including him in a positive vibe.
Whether he’s with the Lions come Week 1 of the 2023 season or not, 2022 is shaping up as a make-or-break season for Goff if he hopes to remain an NFL starting quarterback. He’s certainly being surrounded by enough talent and structure to get his best play over a full season, so if he falls short (barring an irrational level of injuries) it’ll be all the way on him.