The Detroit Lions shook up their quarterback situation in 2021, and while many see the move as benefitting the team in the end, others aren’t sure it was for the better.
Gone is Matthew Stafford and entering the mix is Jared Goff. That swap doesn’t seem that great on the surface, and yet another source is blasting the move for the team in terms of the damage it will do to Detroit’s quarterback room and standing in the NFL.
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Recently, Bleacher Report and Kristopher Knox took a look at ranking every single quarterback room in the NFL. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Lions were low on the list with Jared Goff, Tim Boyle and David Blough, placing 26th in the NFL.
“The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Goff was downright bad in his rookie season. He threw just five touchdowns in seven games with seven interceptions and a passer rating of 63.6. A pair of Pro Bowl seasons and a Super Bowl berth followed McVay’s arrival, but Goff was back to average in 2020.
He finished last season ranked 23rd in passer rating (90.0) and 20th in yards per attempt (7.2) among qualifying starters. He also didn’t lead a single fourth-quarter comeback and threw just 20 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
With McVay out of the picture and Detroit featuring a less-than-impressive receiving corps—headlined by Breshad Perriman, Tyrell Williams and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown—Goff could be in store for further regression.
Unfortunately for Detroit, there isn’t a viable alternative on the roster. Tim Boyle has never made an NFL start, while David Blough is 0-5 for his career.”
Nobody is doubting the fact that the Lions have some potentially shaky depth behind Goff. Boyle hasn’t thrown a regular season pass, and while Blough has, he hasn’t been able to prove he can engineer a win. Neither would be deemed an elite option at quarterback should Goff go down.
Oddly enough, the Lions weren’t dead last, and were ahead of other intriguing teams such as the Broncos, Panthers, Jets, Giants and Texans. The Lions might not be the best, but at this point, they certainly aren’t the worst, either.
Goff Was Ranked Low by Bruce Gradkowski
This is hardly the only time Goff his been ripped this offseason. How big of a downgrade is he for the Lions? Pretty significant if some in the media are to be believed. If Stafford is a top 10 quarterback, where does Goff rate? Certainly not as highly, and that isn’t an opinion limited to those in the media.
Recently, former NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, working along with Pro Football Focus, took a look at ranking every quarterback in the league. Goff was far from the worst, but he was far down the list at 26. Even such, Gradkowski can see how Goff might be on track for a much better rebound in time with the Lions given the fresh start he has been handed.
“A fresh start does players wonders, especially at the quarterback position. It also doesn’t hurt when you get a vote of confidence and your team takes Penei Sewell to protect you over some highly sought-after first-round quarterbacks. The Rams were third in the league in play-action pass attempts and tied for fifth in screen pass attempts. It will be imperative that the Lions help their QB and design an offense around what he’s comfortable with. Goff has a top-five passing grade when he has a clean pocket, is in rhythm and targets intermediate throws 10-19 yards downfield. He struggled when targeting 20-plus yard throws in the same scenario, earning the 29th-ranked passing grade out of 36 qualifying quarterbacks.
Getting the ball downfield in 2020 was a struggle, whether it was missed throws or negatively graded throws. This is probably why Goff led the league in passing yards on completions of 5 yards or less a season ago. The Lions seem to be building around Goff, and this is exactly what he needs to get his confidence back up so he can play at a high level again.”
Getting Goff some more confidence will be key, and the quarterback has the chance to close ranks now and try to prove all the haters wrong while elevating his own stock.
Lions Have Long Had Backup Issue
If there is an indictment on the Detroit quarterback situation more than Goff, it’s the backup role. Even when Stafford was in the mix, the Lions didn’t have the best backups in the league, and that cost the team when Stafford would get hurt. There’s a similar problem at this point. The Lions didn’t draft a young quarterback, and have unproven entities like Boyle and Blough on their roster. Neither could be counted on to win the Lions a big game if they happened to find themselves in the hunt and Goff went down. For this reason, Detroit’s spot on this list is probably justified for the 2021 season.
In the future, the Lions have to find a way to add a bigger time young arm to the mix, either to push Goff or serve as a more capable backup. Only then will they rebound on lists such as this.