“Bust.” “Overrated.” “Overpaid.” These terms and many more were ones used near the end of Jared Goff’s time with the Los Angeles Rams. Sure, he was the captain of a Super Bowl team and had a few nice seasons, but it was becoming increasingly clear that he was a major weak point in a juggernaut team. To offload him, they gathered him and a few first round picks to send to the Detroit Lions for, mainly, Matthew Stafford. Goff was in an “on a cruise ship heading for the Island of Misfit Toys” type of situation, being seen as nothing more than a cap dump to help the Rams build towards a ring. And, like a cap dump, Jared Goff has…led the Lions to the brink of contention. Huh. Well, he’s trash, right? Detroit had some ungodly talent that has dragged Goff into high-ranking society again, has to be. He has his highest passer rating since 2018, the year he took L.A. to the championship? Shoot. He’s cooking, he’s on fire, whatever you want to call it, he’s been dealing like his old self. The biggest question on my mind is this: how? How did Goff, when at first glance was put in a much worse situation, bounce back into his prime form that was last spotted four years (I know, doesn’t feel like it’s been that long) ago?
Being a first round pick is incredible pressure, regardless of position. The pressure for a player picked first overall is that, but multiplied tenfold. The most pressure that can be possibly given to a single player is being a quarterback taken first, and that’s exactly what Jared Goff was tossed into. A Rams franchise that had little to no success for the better part of the past decade put all of their prayers and aspirations on him, and after a poor rookie campaign, he started fulfilling them. Goff, along with the rise of players like Cooper Kupp, helped return L.A. to the playoffs for a strong stretch of years. After the Rams’ Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, though, Goff seemed to lose a step. Become a shadow of his former self, per se. A slight uptick in interceptions and really just not looking as efficient made him the odd man out for a team looking to go more “all in” than any other team in history. As soon as they found a buyer, the Los Angeles Rams ended up kicking off one of the most unlikely redemption stories of recent memory.
The biggest difference between L.A. and Detroit for Goff was their belief in him and their attitude towards him. In his last year with the Rams, the front office’s opinion of their QB closely reflected the media, which isn’t exactly a flattering one. The Lions really had nothing to lose from buying into Goff, and he’s been so good that they’re no longer considering him the bridge quarterback that he very well could’ve become. Outside of Detroit’s warm welcome, though, I can’t really come up with a strong reason as to why he’s had such an incredible bounceback. That just makes it all the more impressive that Jared Goff has achieved this return to form.