Earlier in the week, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell made it clear he was impressed with quarterback Jared Goff and believed in him for the future. On Tuesday, it was the turn of Lions general manager Brad Holmes to support the franchise quarterback.
“I think what Jared did this year, he led the ship from a top-three offense, and I mean he was statistically top-10 in most passing categories,” said Holmes.
From the minute the Lions landed Goff in a trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Goff and a few first-round picks (and more), Holmes threw his full support behind him. Holmes was part of the Rams front office that drafted Goff with the first overall pick in 2016. Watching him develop there for five seasons gave Holmes confidence that Goff would become the successful quarterback he was. back in his 2017 and 2018 Pro Bowl seasons — even though his Lions career got off to a rocky start.
“I always had faith in him because I was with him from the start when he got drafted when I was with LA,” Holmes said. “I just know how resilient and tough he is. I think it was mostly me who knew about all the success he was having in LA. I think that was kind of forgotten when he got here. And I think he was put in a difficult situation (in 2021).
Last season, Goff threw for just 19 touchdowns and averaged just 6.6 yards per pass attempt, two career lows as a full-time starter. However, the Lions’ reception room was depleted last year, the offensive line was hit with a few key injuries, and midway through the season the Lions demoted offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn when it was clear his vision did not match that of head coach Dan. Campbell.
Knowing that Goff had the mental toughness to get through the tough times, Holmes made a deal with his quarterback: We’ll find you a supporting cast. You go wild when the time comes.
“I respect him a lot, because I said to him, ‘Look, we’re going to keep our end of the bargain. We are held accountable. We have to put you in the right situation with the right pieces around you, (and) stability on offense,” Holmes said. “I felt like we did that, and he held his end of the bargain. I think it worked. I didn’t really have any doubts or hesitations. I never really considered him like a bridge. I think everyone has done it, but I think it’s a bit recency bias compared to what he had to go through last year.
Holmes got him the guns (DJ Chark, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds) and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson provided stability. When the team finally got back to health at catcher on Thanksgiving, Goff did the rest.
– 1st in the ranking of passers (113.0)
– 1st in INT (0)
– t-1st in passing TDs (12)
– 2nd in yards/attempt (8.11)
– 2nd passing 1st down (82)
– t-2nd in more than 25 yard passes (12)
– 3rd passing yards (1,532) pic.twitter.com/q5pcULjsOE
— Detroit Lions PR (@LionsPR) January 7, 2023
So when Holmes was asked if Goff was playing well enough to eliminate the quarterback as a need with the sixth overall pick, he dropped a deep line.
“I think it’s a lot easier to get worse at quarterback than it is to get better at quarterback in this league,” Holmes said.
That said, Holmes left the tiniest of holes open for the possibility of a change of heart.
“We’re never going to turn a good football player away. So if it’s a football player that we really like, we’re going to make sure every stone isn’t turned over, but I think Jared has proven everything. the world that he is a starting quarterback for us.