The Detroit Lions may not be headed for a quarterback controversy any time soon, but starter Jared Goff did attract some attention as he struggled in OTAs.
John Maakaron of SI.com’s All Lions wrote that Goff was a “dud” at the start of voluntary practices on May 25, struggling to connect with receivers during drills that traditionally favor the offense. Goff’s job doesn’t appear to be in any danger, but some insiders have predicted that rookie Hendon Hooker could eventually challenge for the starting job by next year.
Jared Goff, Offense Disjointed to Start OTAs
Goff seemed to have a difficult time establishing a rhythm with the Lions’ wide receivers, routinely overthrowing them in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, Maakaron wrote.
“There were opportunities for deep plays to running back Jahmyr Gibbs and wideouts Jameson Williams and Josh Reynolds. But the passes were overthrown and did not have enough air underneath them to give the receiver an opportunity to pull down the reception,” he wrote.
Backup Nate Sudfeld showed a much stronger command of the offense, though he ended on a down note by throwing an interception.
“On Thursday, the veteran backup showcased deep ball accuracy and zip on the majority of his passes,” Maakaron wrote. “He led the team well during a simulated drive, connecting with multiple receivers.”
Goff is the unquestioned starter heading into the season, with Sudfeld settled into a role as No. 2 and the rookie Hooker taking what head coach Dan Campbell called a “redshirt year” while recovering from a torn ACL. But NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal believes the former Tennessee quarterback has the potential to grow into a starter and could make a bid to become Detroit’s starter in 2024.
“The Lions needed to upgrade their backup quarterback situation and did so with third-round pick Hendon Hooker,” Rosenthal wrote. “Give Hooker a year before he’s challenging Jared Goff for playing time.”
While he recovers from the injury, Hooker has also been leaning on Goff to help him learn the ropes in the NFL.
“Essentially, he’s an amazing quarterback,” Hooker said, via NFL.com. “Just continuing to learn from him and watch him, watching his footwork, watching how he directs traffic, when he’s in the huddle, just taking command of the total offense. It’s amazing to see him operate, and one day I hope to be on that level and operate as efficient as he does.”
Lions Looking to Lock Down Jared Goff
The Lions still appear to be strong on Goff’s future, with general manager Brad Holmes discussing the idea of a contract extension. While the former No. 1 overall draft pick still has two years remaining on his contract, Holmes said the team has had some internal discussions about extending the deal.
“Yeah, we’ve had internal dialogue there and we’ve had a dialogue with his agent,” Holmes said in an interview on 97.1 The Ticket. “We’re in a good place right now.”
Goff had one of the best seasons of his career in 2022, completing 65.1% of his passes for 4,438 yards with 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Lions went 9-8, the team’s most wins in a season since going 9-7 in 2017.