Familiar criticisms follow QB Jared Goff from Rams to Lions

Following the Detroit Lions' first practice in pads on Tuesday, QB Jared Goff is receiving similar criticisms as he did with the L.A. Rams.

Jared Goff practiced in pads as a member of the Detroit Lions for the first time on Tuesday [August 3], and based on the on-the-ground reporting, his play was typically up and down.

Criticisms continue to follow Lions QB Jared Goff

Goff in Anthony Lynn’s offense is still a bit of a Checkdown Charlie. But that shouldn’t be a surprise. His 6.5 average intended air yards in 2020 was the fourth-lowest in the league, per Next Gen Stats. And Goff has gotten progressively more gun-shy as his career has gone on. His IAY was 7.8 in 2019, 8.8 in 2018, and 8.1 in 2017.

Certainly, he’ll never be confused with Matthew Stafford, but the early years of the Goff-Sean McVay partnership proved he’s not completely incapable of throwing the ball downfield. He just hasn’t done so with great regularity recently, including thus far in Lions’ camp.

But that’s not the only part of Goff’s game that would sound familiar to those who work for or follow the Rams.

Lions coaches throwing a lot at Goff in training camp

We hear that Lions coaches are putting a lot on his plate and changing things up pretty regularly. And not everything has gone smoothly when they do.

This echoes the criticism of Goff in the deeply reported ESPN report from March that called into question Goff’s mental toughness — particularly after he fell out of favor with McVay, who called out his franchise quarterback internally and publicly late in the 2020 season.

Goff is the ultimate on-schedule quarterback. Improvisation is not his strength. Multiple, unpredictable defenses particularly rattle him.

Brian Flores has helped design two of the most effective game plans against Goff, first with the Patriots in Super Bowl 53 and then as the coach of the Dolphins last November.

In those two losses, he completed just 54.5 percent of his passes, averaging a mere 5.9 yards per attempt, and committed 5 turnovers with 1 touchdown pass.

Jared Goff should have more time to throw with Lions

Expect teams to throw a bunch of exotic looks at Goff until he proves he can beat them. With Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell as his bookend offensive linemen, Goff should have time to throw in Detroit. The Lions, on paper, have an above-average line and two capable backs in D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams.

Plus Lynn, the Lions’ new offensive coordinator, has been instructed by first-year coach Dan Campbell to run the ball. Which makes sense, and not only because it matches Campbell’s football DNA. It matches the team’s strength, particularly after the Lions’ WR room got raided this offseason.

Campbell, to his credit, is all in on his quarterback publicly in a way that Goff’s last coach was not.

“He’s been good. You can just see him from where we were in the spring to now, you can see how much more comfortable he is and how much more he has taken ownership of his offense, which is what we want,” Campbell said recently.

“We want him to feel like – listen, dialogue, communication, ‘Is there something you want, or you feel like we could do better with?’ We take it. Sometimes we’re like, ‘no. this is why we want to do it.’ He’s really growing into it and he is embracing it and it is becoming – and that’s what we want. We want it to become what is best for him and his vision, as well ours. He’s been great, he really has. You can see him grow inside the offense.”

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