In what is shaping up to be a unique matchup in Week 7, the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams will square off, with each team employing the other’s former starting quarterback.
While the Rams will feature former Lions franchise passer Matthew Stafford at quarterback, the Lions have former Rams signal-caller Jared Goff. The two were traded for each other in the offseason, with each departing under different circumstances.
With Stafford, there was an emotional goodbye and a mutual understanding of their time being over. However, Goff underwent a much different situation in Los Angeles. Reports have surfaced of his rocky relationship with head coach Sean McVay and how quickly things turned sour.
Speaking with the media, McVay said he wishes he handled the trade situation with his former quarterback differently.
“I wish there was better, clear communication,” McVay said. “You don’t want to catch guys off guard. It came together a lot faster than anybody anticipated. But, yeah, of course. Anytime that tough decisions and things like that, where people are affected, you always want to be as understanding and as empathetic as possible, and think about it through the other person’s lens.”
Goff, speaking with the media Wednesday, responded to his former coach’s comments.
“I appreciate it,” Goff said. “It takes a man to say something like that. So, yeah, I appreciate it. It still happened the way it did, but I do appreciate him saying that.”
The California native, who quarterbacked the Rams for five seasons, noted that the breakup between he and his former team was not nearly as bad as it was made out to be.
Heading into the matchup with the Rams, he said he’ll experience all sorts of emotions, from the happiness of seeing old teammates and friends, to the motivation of wanting to beat his former team.
Recommended Lions Articles
Everyone's Saying the Same Thing About Detroit Lions on Sunday
A Sunday without the Detroit Lions might not be such a bad thing.
Holding Calls Derailed Lions' Offense in Week 12
Read more on how holding calls derailed the Detroit Lions' offense in Week 12.
Roundtable: Is It Too Soon to Judge Dan Campbell?
The latest SI All Lions Roundtable focuses on whether it's too soon to judge first-year Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell and more.
“Of course, you’re motivated and of course, you have the chip on your shoulder,” Goff said. “There was some disrespect felt towards the end, there was some sourness towards the end and you still feel that you have that chip on your shoulder. But, at the same time, when the game starts, if I let any of that come into how I’m gonna play the game, I’d be selfish.”
Heading into his first ever matchup against his former team, Goff is well aware of the challenges that the Rams' defense presents. Led by defensive line anchor Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles will be a tough test for a sputtering Lions offense.
“They’re really good,” Goff said. “That’s the No. 1 thing I know about practicing against those guys, they’re really good. I think I never truly understood how to game plan against Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald until you actually have to. I never had to play against those guys previously.”
Goff has drawn criticism for his recent performances, including a 34-11 Week 6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, in which he completed 28 passes for 202 yards and an interception. Fans have grown frustrated with the offense’s performance, and Detroit's quarterback has absorbed much of that blame.
A win against his former team would do wonders for the morale of not only Detroit's embattled quarterback, but his entire team. Getting a pivotal road win and breaking the winless start to the season would be paramount.
“This win would mean a lot to everyone,” said tight end T.J. Hockenson. “It would be our first one, it’d be out in L.A. It would mean a lot. I don’t think there’s any extra pressure (for Goff), it’s just a normal game. Obviously, I get to see Matthew (Stafford), just see him before the game. But, that doesn’t change anything when the first kickoff happens.”