In January of 2021, the Detroit Lions traded former quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams. In return, new general manager Brad Holmes secured two first-round picks (2022 and 2023), a third-round pick in this year’s draft, and Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff.
This blockbuster trade marked both the end of the Stafford era and the beginning of the Holmes/Campbell era. This new era of Lions football will kick off in the fall of 2021 and will see Goff starting under center.
The case for Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff
Since being drafted with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams, many have questioned Goff’s abilities as a quarterback. Following a poor start to his career in his rookie season (granted, he was coached by Jeff Fisher that year), Goff saw steady improvement in the following years. The Rams record would improve from 4-12 in 2016 to 13-3 in 2018, a year in which the Rams would also see their first Super Bowl berth since the early 2000s.
Goff would lead the Rams to four winning seasons, three playoff berths, and a Super Bowl appearance in his five years in Los Angeles. He would throw for 18,171 yards, 107 touchdowns, 55 interceptions, and complete over 63% of his passes. Goff would also finish his time in Los Angeles with a 42-27 record, with an additional 2-3 playoff record.
Some have credited Goff as a primary factor in the Rams offensive success from 2017-2020. However, others have criticized Goff’s struggles when facing pressure. Many also claim that Goff’s success only stemmed from the coaching around him and point to his rookie season statistics as a basis for these claims.
On the one hand, Rams head coach Sean McVay is among the top offensive-minded coaches in the NFL right now. On the other hand, former Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has a history of taking good quarterbacks and making them bad. Could Goff’s success be a product of the system? Possibly; however, the league owes it to Goff to at least give him a chance to prove otherwise.