Goff’s Steady Play A Big Reason for Lions Surge

After a Pro Bowl season where he led the Lions to a 7-2 record in the final nine games, quarterback Jared Goff expects to be better in 2023.

“What he did well last year was his decision making, and that stretch we made he was just taking care of the ball, smart with the football,” said Lions quarterback coach Mark Brunell last week about Goff. “It’s continuing to do that. That’s at the top of the list and I think he’ll do that.”

Goff is entering his third year as a starter for the Lions after five years – and a Super Bowl run – with the Los Angeles Rams. Goff’s play is a big reason why sportsbooks are high on the Lions chances this season. The NFL is certainly taking notice. Reports are the Lions were asked to come back on the hit show Hard Knocks on HBO plus the Lions will be in the big spotlight when they open the season against defending Super Bowl champs Kansas City on the road.

Last year the Lions were 1-6 when everything finally started clicking for Coach Dan Campbell’s crew and Goff played some of the best football of his career. He finished with 4,438 yards (sixth most in the NFL) 29 touchdowns (tied for sixth) and tied a career low with seven interceptions.

That last number might be the most important. The NFL is a pass-happy league, but interceptions are game-changing and game-losing plays. Goff’s ability to take care of the football was a big reason for the Lions surge.

“When the opportunities to be aggressive present themselves, you have to take advantage of them. And, the beauty of our quarterback is he has the ability, the arm talent, the experience really to know when to pull the trigger and to be aggressive. But, at the same time, understanding that a check-down is a pretty good thing,” Brunell said of Goff. “And, I think, as the season progressed last year, we saw that not pushing the ball so far down the field and being too aggressive where it could really hurt your team, just going through your progression and understanding it’s not always going to be there. But, when it is, you have to take advantage of it.”

Goff finished with a 61.1 QBR (Quarterback Rating) fifth best among starters in the NFL.

Detroit has given Goff two new weapons entering the 2023 season, drafting Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick, and hulking tight end Sam LaPorta out of Iowa in the third round.

The Lions already have a formidable set of playmakers. Amon-Ra St. Brown had the best season of his career and became Goff’s No. 1 target with a team best 1,161 yards and six touchdowns. Lion fans also know Kalif Raymond came on at the end of last year and put up career numbers with 616 yards on 47 grabs. Josh Reynolds finished with three touchdowns.

Speedy wide receiver Jameson Williams gives Detroit the deep threat they need, but Williams will serve a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s gambling policy.

Goff will be 29 this season and is entering his prime. The Lions ranked No. 5 in the NFL in scoring last year with Goff at the controls and there’s reason to believe the Lions will roar plenty this season.

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