Lions’ Dan Campbell Fires Bold Message on QB Jared Goff

Dan Campbell Jared Goff

Getty Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell delivered a strong message about quarterback Jared Goff.

Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions opened the team’s offseason workouts claiming not to be “into” offseason hype.

But to begin the team’s minicamp on June 6, Campbell appeared to escalate the hype surrounding Lions quarterback Jared Goff by telling reporters that Goff is a better signal caller now than he was when he led the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl during the 2018-19 season.

“I think what you’re seeing is a guy who just put his head down and went back to work 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 told reporters at the start of Detroit’s minicamp.

“I mean, he’s a better quarterback than he was [with the Rams], in my opinion, because he can do more things. He’s mentally on it.”

Goff has played well in two seasons with the Lions, but he posted particularly stellar stats during the second half of 2022. In the final 10 games of last season, he completed nearly 66% of his passes and averaged 7.5 yards per attempt while throwing 17 touchdowns and just 1 interception.

Detroit went 8-2 in those 10 contests.

Dan Campbell Says QB Jared Goff is ‘Light-Years Ahead’ of Where He Was in 2021

In a follow-up question, Campbell was asked to quantify his bold statement of Goff playing the best football of his career.

Campbell didn’t offer specific stats, but he further explained the areas where the veteran signal caller has improved.

“We’ve come light-years ahead of where he was two years ago,” Campbell told reporters. “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.”

Campbell also argued that the Lions offense asks more of Goff than what the Rams did when he played in Los Angeles.

“[The Rams] had a lot of pretty good pieces out there as well, as we know. Damn good defense. All those things,” Campbell said. “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.”

It’s hard to argue with the narrative that the Rams surrounded Goff with stars on both sides of the ball. With two different starting quarterbacks from 2017-21, the Rams averaged 11 wins per season, captured two NFC Championships and won a Super Bowl.

But it’s still interesting to hear Campbell argue the Rams had more “good pieces” for Goff than the Lions do. At this point, Detroit’s roster isn’t exactly bare, particularly on offense.

It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that general manager Brad Holmes adds another big piece to the offense before the start of the season.

Goff Makes Jump on Chris Simms’ QB Rankings

Campbell saying Goff is a better quarterback now than he was with the Rams came across as bold. But the Lions head coach is not alone in sharing that opinion.

NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms made the same claim when he ranked Goff at No. 17 on his quarterback rankings list heading into the 2023 season.

“There’s no doubt about it that that was definitely his best season,” Simms said about Goff’s play last year. “No doubt. He’s got limited upside, but he’s more talented than he gets credit for.”

Coming in at No. 17  on Simms’ quarterback list doesn’t sound all that impressive on paper. But he jumped 13 spots from No. 30 on Simms’ 2022 QB list.

In 17 games, Goff had for 4,438 passing yards with 29 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions last season. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2018.

Goff threw for more yards with the Rams in 2018 and 2019 (more than 4,600 each season). He also had a career-high 32 touchdowns in 2018.

But he had at least 12 interceptions each season from 2018-20. He’s only tossed 15 picks in 31 games over two seasons with the Lions.

Goff will look to keep his interception total low and his production high in 2023 as he looks for a contract extension.

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