When the Detroit Lions traded one of the NFL’s elite passing talents in Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff last season, they set themselves up for the future by acquiring two first-round draft picks.
Goff’s place in that future seemed to be in doubt at mid-season, when coach Dan Campbell suggested that more was needed from his veteran starters. But Campbell gave Goff a somewhat lukewarm vote of confidence on Tuesday in terms of 2022.
“Yeah, I mean, I can not see why not. He’s playing pretty good ball now,” Campbell said via Justin Rogers of Detroit News.
Campbell has stuck with Goff as his starter this season despite the quarterback’s matches; he has only missed two starts, one with a slant injury (week 11) and another last week due to COVID-19. He has led two wins in his last three starts, beating the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals with two of his best performances of the season.
However, assessing Goff is a complicated matter. How much of his erratic play this season is on him? The Lions lost starting left tackle Taylor Decker in the first nine weeks of the season, contributing to matches in the passing defense. And Goff’s goals were not exactly productive; Until the rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown ushered in a fierce December, Goff’s top goal was tight-end TJ Hockenson. Even the day Campbell called Goff out by name, he followed with a qualifying match that the offensive around Goff should also be increased.
Goff has completed 311 of 464 passes (67 percent) in 3,007 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions on the year. But the aforementioned circumstances require that his production be characterized on something of a curve.
Aside from these considerations, it’s whether Campbell will be the one to assess Goff’s 2022 role at all – a 2-12-1 mark does not bode well for his own future, although the Lions’ improved play lately could serve as an argument for keep the first-year coach.
Detroit also took a 2021 pick in the third round of the Stafford deal, which they used to pick cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu, who missed most of his rookie year with a quad injury. But it is the first-time players – in 2022 and 2023 – who moved the needle for the Lions.
Whether Goff is the quarterback who will benefit from these choices is still unknown, but so far his coach is in the Goff camp.