Jared Goff nearly reached the top of the football world as a Los Angeles Ram alongside head coach Sean McVay, but Goff's current head coach, Detroit Lions' Dan Campbell, claimed Tuesday Goff is a "better quarterback" today with the Lions. The 28-year-old passer is entering his third season in Detroit with Campbell in the 2021 offseason in a package with a 2021 third-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick that led to Matthew Stafford becoming a Los Angeles Ram.
After a rocky first season with the Lions in which Detroit went 3-13-1, Goff and the team caught fire, winning eight of their final 10 games to finish 9-8 in 2022, which included eliminating Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers from playoff contention in the final game of the regular season on "Sunday Night Football." The quarterback's resurgence helped power a top-five scoring offense (26.6 points per game, fifth-best in NFL) as he led the league in touchdown-to-interception ratio, 29 touchdowns to only seven interceptions, the highest in a single season in Lions history. Goff closed out 2022 on fire, throwing 15 touchdowns and no interceptions in the Lions' final nine games. His 324 consecutive passes without an interception mark the longest such streak in franchise history.
Jared Goff's Lions career
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"He hung in there and I think what you're seeing is a guy who just put his head down and worked on what he could, tried to improve on what he could, and now his confidence is really, it has grown, and along the way, he's matured as a quarterback," Campbell said Tuesday. "I mean, he's a better quarterback than he was there [with the Rams] in my opinion because he can do more things. He's mentally on it.
"We ask him to do a lot more in my opinion than what [the Rams] were actually doing out there. They had a lot of pretty good pieces out there as well as we know. Damn good defense. All those things, but I just feel like, I know from speaking with him and watching him really over the last two years, I just feel like ... we put a lot of things on him where I'm not so sure that was ultimately what they were doing."
The Shanahan-McVay under-center, zone-blocking, and play-action-heavy offenses are all about simplifying a quarterback's responsibilities, so they can read a defense and fire to their target without much of a burden. Campbell feels Goff's ascendance in the second half of the 2022 season boils down to the quarterback having a greater command of all aspects of the playbook in addition to just reading opposing coverages and letting it rip.
"We've come light years ahead of where he was two years ago, teaching him protections," Campbell said. "He's got a real good grasp of what we're doing, where the issues are, where the problems are and that's something that we really wanted him to get good at and he wanted to get good at and he's worked at it, and he's improved."
Goff's improvement plays a massive role in Detroit's larger 2023 preseason expectations as the Lions are currently the odds-on favorite to win the NFC North (+120) and their +2500 odds to win the Super Bowl are their second-shortest preseason odds in the last 25 years. The Lions have a tremendous opportunity to showcase Goff's and the rest of their roster's ascendance in the 2023 season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs on Sept 7, just about three months from now.