Can Jared Goff be the Quarterback of the Future for the Lions?

Expectations to improve this season are high for the Detroit Lions. As of right now, the Lions projected win totals for the 2022 season is the most popular bet according to Caesars Sportsbook. The official sports betting partner of the NFL set the Lions to win 6 games, and bettors are choosing the over. Much of this anticipation is set on the performance of quarterback Jared Goff.  

Goff, former number one overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams, was traded to the Lions in a deal that sent quarterback Mathew Stafford to the Rams. With Goff under center, the Lions started the 2021 season 0-8.  

Much of the struggle that came on the offensive side of the ball was a result of the play-calling. In the wake of a disappointing Week 10 tie with the Steelers, head coach Dan Campbell announced that he would be taking over play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. This play calling setback had many questions if Goff could be successful with the Lions.

In order to understand what Goff could provide in the future, it is important to examine his past. 

Just a few short seasons ago, Goff was able to lead the Rams to Super Bowl LIII after largely dominating the regular season. Despite a loss to the New England Patriots, Goff had a tremendous season, throwing for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing about 65% of his passes.

One of the factors that resulted in Goff’s best statistical year was the weapons that surrounded him. The 2018 Rams team featured running back Todd Gurley, wide receivers Brandon Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, Tight End Tyler Higbee, along with a very solid offensive line. The arsenal that Goff had to work with allowed for him to manage head coach Sean McVay’s offensive gameplan like a well-oiled machine. 

When considering how this 2018 Rams team came to be, one name must be given credit for sculpting it together – Brad Holmes. 

Holmes, current general manager of the Detroit Lions, was the director of scouting with the Rams from 2013-2020. Not only was Holmes able to acquire players that would eventually fit perfect in McVay’s scheme, but he was also able to create a dominate defense headlined by defensive tackle Aaron Donald. 

Holmes was hired by the Detroit Lions in January 2021, and has implemented a strong direction only one year into the rebuild. The team that Holmes is putting together already draws parallels to the 2018 Rams. Between the additions to the wide receiver group and new pass rushers, the Lions hope to provide the same strengths that the Rams had during their Super Bowl run.  

Additions such as wide receivers DJ Chark and first-round pick Jameson Williams, along with established weapons in running back D’Andre Swift, tight end T.J. Hockenson and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, look to make Jared Goff more comfortable this upcoming season.   

Play calling will also be an important element to the success of Goff. 

Ben Johnson, who was promoted from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator, was the unofficial pass game coordinator for the last nine weeks of the season. Johnson’s system resulted in a more consistent offense, and increased the Lions’ scoring by four points per game. 

he struggles that Goff has faced may just be the subsequent growing pains of becoming comfortable with a young, rebuilding team. Now with a more established supporting cast and offensive scheme, expect Goff to lead the Lions to a more successful season. It will be vital for Goff to stretch the field with more deep passing, an area that saw improvement in the second half of last season.

If Goff is able to improve in areas that he struggled with last season and reach the heights that he reached during his tenure with the Rams, there is no doubt that he could be the Lions’ quarterback long-term. However, Goff must prove it. If Goff under performs once again, expect the Lions to move on.