Is Lions quarterback Jared Goff hiding an injury?

The way he has played the last two games, it's worth wondering if Lions quarterback Jared Goff is operating at 100 percent health.
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Other than the back half of the fourth quarter in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears, it's been a rough couple games for Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff. He has six turnovers over the last two games. On Thursday against the Green Bay Packers, he was under siege as the Lions' offensive could not protect him on his way to three fumbles.

While he was only sacked three times, Goff was hit 12 times and was pressured an absolutely absurd 33 times by the Packers (via Pro Football Focus, h/t to Ben Raven of MLive).

It's well-known and well-chronicled that Goff doesn't do well when pressured. No quarterback does especially well when under pressure. But as immobile as Goff is, he particularly needs a clean pocket and nothing good happens when he has to move or take off and run.

Apart from the consistent pressure the Packers put on him, and the general turnover thing, Goff has has had some rough-looking throws the last couple games, He usually throws a crisp, catchable ball when kept clean from pressure, but a bad miss to Sam LaPorta during Thursday's game when he was not particularly under duress stands out.

Detroit Lions: Is Jared Goff hiding an injury?

Let's start with the idea that any NFL player that's not at least a bit banged up here in late-November has probably barely played this season. And there is a difference between being hurt (you can play) and being injured (you probably can't/shouldn't play).

On Friday, a Twitter user posed a question to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News that easily stirred some thoughts. Rogers responded by saying he asked about the particular topic after Thursday's game, and got the expected nothing answer from Goff.

Goff last missed a game due to injury (an oblique strain) in 2021, his first season as a Lion. Other than that, now into his eighth NFL season, he has been very durable. Other than that oblique issue, I don't recall him even being on the injury report as a Lion. He missed two other games in 2021 after testing positive for COVID-19.

With the growing prevalence of betting, and fantasy football as a tentacle of that, NFL teams draw scrutiny if they don't list players who are dealing with an injury of any degree on the injury report. There has been nothing to indicate Goff has anything going on that would compromise his effectiveness, or availability, on game days.

But it's undeniable something has been off with Goff the last two games. The short turnaround before a Thursday game isn't generally helpful to any player, in terms of being physically recovered from a game the previous Sunday.

No one is accusing the Lions of hiding an injury, or accusing Goff of hiding an injury from coaches, medical staff, etc. But there are no easy answers for why he has looked so bad in the last two games, other than the persistent pressure from the Packers on Thursday. Failing anything else to explain the downturn in his play, a hidden ailment of some sort is an easy thing to look toward.

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