2022 forcing me to rethink entire Goff-McVay relationship

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams are not heading to the NFL Playoffs. And yet, the Jared Goff-led Detroit Lions, just one year removed from trading away veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, are still in the hunt. Of course, it’s not all thanks to Goff’s production this season, but it hasn’t hurt the Lions one bit.

The Lions are now where the LA Rams used to be.  They boast the fourth-ranked NFL offense in terms of yards gained. They have the fifth-ranked offense in terms of points scored. And Lions quarterback Jared Goff is back to the best version of himself, completing 64.9 percent of his passes, throwing for 4,214 yards, 29 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions, and one game remains on the schedule.

The Lions must defeat the Green Bay Packers in Week 18, and they must get a victory from the LA Rams over divisional rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. But the Lions are playing meaningful football in Week 18, while the LA Rams have been eliminated weeks earlier.

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I think many of us got it wrong about Jared Goff

It’s now 2023, and I have to admit that I have made some real boneheaded moves over the course of my life. And I don’t know that I am any worse off than anyone. If someone cannot admit to making mistakes over the course of their life, they are either bold-faced liars, or they have done nothing. I can admit that I may have been mistaken about Jared Goff.

When the LA Rams traded for Matthew Stafford, the exchange seemed to be less about the raw talent of both players, and more about the Rams seeking out a seasoned veteran, and the Lions have the opportunity to reset the clock on the number of years available from a potential franchise quarterback.

At the end of the 2020 NFL season, the LA Rams were turned away by the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. At that time, the Rams made the immutable decision to look elsewhere for a new quarterback, leading to the rapid trade for Stafford with a package of picks and QB Jared Goff. Goff’s reputation was beaten up so badly that many NFL analysts and pundits immediately began to speculate on a new quarterback to replace Goff. Some may still be authoring those articles.

But let’s face the harsh truth. LA Rams HC Sean McVay did not carry QB Jared Goff. The Rams’ offense aligned with Goff’s skillsets for several years. When the Rams lost the Todd Gurley-powered running game, the offense tried to transform but did so at the cost of no longer suiting Jared Goff’s strengths.  The Detroit Lions run a very balanced offense, a key factor in the success of Jared Goff in their system.

There ain’t no good guy. There ain’t no bad guy. There’s only you and me and we just disagree” – lyrics to We Just Disagree by Dave Mason, circa 1993

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