For the second consecutive year, the Lions are a trendy pick to make a leap into playoff contention. Detroit finished fourth in the league in total offense a season ago, and the NFL rewarded the Lions with a slot in its coveted season-opening Thursday night game against the Chiefs on Sept. 7.
One particularly encouraging element of Detroit’s improvement from 3-13-1 in 2021 to 9–8 in 2022 was the fact that it came with quarterback Jared Goff under center. Many surmised Goff was past his prime when the Lions acquired him in March 2021.
To Detroit coach Dan Campbell, however, Goff—still just 28—is only continuing to get better.
Lions HC Dan Campbell believes Jared Goff is better in Detroit compared to his time spent in L.A. 👀 pic.twitter.com/Z3mnnaGuDK— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) June 6, 2023
“We’ve come light years ahead of where he was two years ago,” Campbell said. “He’s got a real good grasp of what we’re doing, where the issues are, where the problems are and that’s something that we really wanted him to get good at and he wanted to get good at and he’s worked at it, and he’s improved.”
Goff, a two-time Pro Bowler with the Rams in 2017 and ’18 who led the team to an appearance in Super Bowl LIII, regressed in his last two seasons in Los Angeles and was shown the door in favor of eventual Super Bowl champion Matthew Stafford. In ’22, Goff rebounded in a big way with 29 touchdowns through the air against just seven interceptions.
“I mean, he’s a better quarterback than he was [in Los Angeles] in my opinion because he can do more things,” Campbell said. “He’s mentally on it.”
The Lions' quarterback situation will bear watching in 2023, as third-round draft pick Hendon Hooker sits behind Goff and speculation continues to swirl about Detroit taking a franchise talent in the future.