For the first time in over a decade, the Detroit Lions will have a new signal-caller under center to start a season.
Matthew Stafford is out, after 12 seasons in the Motor City, and Jared Goff is in, after five seasons with the Rams organization.
The two quarterbacks traded places this offseason, as new Lions general manager Brad Holmes dealt Stafford to Los Angeles for Goff and multiple draft picks.
For Goff, it's a chance for a fresh start.
He was much maligned for his play the last two seasons, during which he threw for only 22 and 20 touchdowns, respectively, in back-to-back campaigns.
It came after the 2016 No. 1 overall pick made two straight trips to the Pro Bowl in 2017 and 2018. He threw a combined 60 TDs during those two seasons, while leading the Rams to 24 regular season victories, two consecutive NFC West division crowns and a Super Bowl appearance.
He was the "man" in L.A. during that time. But, he fell out of favor with the franchise, including with Rams head coach Sean McVay, after producing mediocre numbers in 2019 and 2020.
The 26-year-old has been given a chance at redemption in Detroit.
First-year Lions head man Dan Campbell provided a rave review of Goff early on in OTAs. For starters, he loved the fact that his starting quarterback was in attendance.
"It's been big,“ Campbell noted during a video conference with Detroit media. "Any time you can get your quarterback here around all your guys -- the offensive line, the receivers, the backs, the tight ends -- and let him work the system (and) not only get used to the system itself, but then how he’s going to run the system and for those players around him to get used to it, it’s been huge."
Campbell also offered some thoughts on Goff's intangibles as a passer.
“We’re only one week into it — (but) I can tell you this, he throws a pretty ball. That’s for sure," Campbell commented. "But, I like his mannerisms. I like his command in the huddle. And, I would say, man, he’s progressing kind of right where you want him to progress at this point. Again, we’re not in team [drills], we’re doing these walk-throughs. But, the first live seven-on-seven yesterday, just watching him throw and some of the things that come out of it, it’s baby steps right now. It’s good to have him here.”
On Tuesday, Goff called the change of scenery he's been provided by Campbell & Co. "a breath of fresh air."
"Any time you get a change of scenery, it’s always a fresh start, a breath of fresh air,” Goff told reporters. “And I said this, I think maybe earlier, but it’s kind of like there’s a lot of guys with that. Obviously, the coaching staff is brand new. There’s a whole bunch of new players. I’m, obviously, a part of the new player regime. We’ve got a lot of young players, as well. It’s a lot of fresh starts, so that kind of energy is all around the building."
Goff also noted that his relationships with Campbell and Detroit offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn are off to good starts.
“I think, in regards to myself personally, Dan and A-Lynn have really empowered me to kind of [say], what do I want? What do I like? How do I want to see it? How do we want to do things? And, they’re constantly bouncing things off me, and I’m constantly bouncing things off them," Goff said. "That’s been a healthy relationship, and something that’s been fun for me to experience and be a part of -- guys that are really wanting to hear from me and wanting to hear what I like.”
My projection for Goff in 2021: 24 passing touchdowns, 15 interceptions and 4,052 yards
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