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Rams-Lions: Ex-Ram Jared Goff has yet to “step up” with Detroit

Former Rams quarterback has struggled with Lions through first part of season

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell was as honest as he could be in response to questions about former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff’s performance this season after a rough 34-11 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

“He’s gonna need to put a little bit of weight on his shoulders here and it’s time to step up, make some throws and do some things, but he needs help.” via ESPN

Campbell has been criticized by some in the media for throwing Goff under the bus and sacrificing him into a volcano. Personally, I believe the Lions leading man had every reason to call out Goff. In the demoralizing defeat to Cincy, Goff completed 28-of-42 passes for 202 yards and an interception, finishing with a 67.8 passer rating.

This marked the second consecutive week Jared has failed to throw a touchdown pass. Last week in a painful 19-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Goff finished 21-of-35 for 203 yards and an interception, ending with a 64.3 passer rating. The last two games have been pitiful for the former LA starter, but his efforts in last Sunday’s game had to have been his worst game of his team’s 0-6 start.

Goff’s nightmare of a matchup can best be summarized with a play about 10 minutes into the second quarter. During the play in question, the Lions were facing a fourth-and-four at about their own 38-yard line and Goff goes ahead and does this:

Even more notable was that running back D’Andre Swift was so wide open on the play that Goff probably couldn’t have possibly overthrown him even if he tried his darnedest:

Had Goff actually seen Swift on the play, it would’ve gone for a large chunk play as there wasn’t a defender within five yards of him. Within the last couple days, fans in the Motor City are wondering when Campbell will contemplate pulling the plug on the QB who led LA to the Super Bowl in 2018. As you can see below, Goff’s 2021 stats have left much to be desired:

“Through six games, Goff has completed 66.8% of his passes for 1,505 yards with seven touchdowns to four interceptions (86.9 rating). Goff is 17th in the NFL in passing yards, 14th in completion percentage, tied for 20th in touchdown passes, 31st in yards per attempt (6.3), and 23rd in passer rating.” via CBS Sports

Those numbers aren’t great obviously and look at all the turnovers he’s had through the first quarter-ish part of the season as well:

However, while all this casts Goff in a poor light, he hasn’t been given much to work with. He has pass catchers Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond and Quintez Cephus to throw to. Even the most diehard fans wouldn’t even know who these fine gentlemen are. Running back D’Andre Swift has contributed 34 receptions for 295 yards and a touchdown to make him Detroit’s second-leading receiver after tight end T.J. Hockenson.

Yikes, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp they are not. I believe even the greatest quarterbacks alive would struggle with that subpar core. We have to keep in mind that football is a team sport and a team is only as great as the collective parts around it. As I say this, fair or not, quarterbacks are supposed to work with what they’re given, even if the team around them is hot garbage doused in gasoline and fryer grease.

Goff has missed the mark while working with this elite collection of practice squad fourth-stringers. This is the biggest reason of his failures with the Lions so far, and why he remains winless without Sean McVay at the helm.

Speaking of McVay, the Rams head coach expressed regret earlier this week over the lack of communication in the blockbuster trade that sent Goff to Detroit and Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles.

“Yes, I wish there was better, clearer communication,” McVay said Monday during a press conference via ESPN. “To say that it was perfectly handled on my end, I wouldn’t be totally accurate in that. I’ll never claim to be perfect, but I will try to learn from some things that I can do better, and I think that was one of them without a doubt.”

McVay took the high road and owned up to his past mistake in not reaching out to Goff sooner. He believes Goff will be well-received when the quarterback makes his much-anticipated return to SoFi Stadium on Sunday against the team that gave him up.

“I think he’ll be received well,” said McVay. “I think the L.A. fans and I think the Rams fans know what a great job he had done and how much — I think how much he meant to the Rams organization both as a football player and also the community.”

After the first two years Jared had under McVay’s tutelage, there was a lot to be celebrated and admired in the work he accomplished with the Rams. Time will tell in how his tenure with Detroit will finish. If Goff continues this downward spiral though, it’ll only be just another sign that he’ll never again live up to his pre-2019 highs.