Dan Campbell: Jared Goff remains Lions starting QB but ‘needs to step up more than he has’

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So far this season, the Detroit Lions always seemed to fight in the game in some fashion. This week though, the Lions came out toothless and lost embarrassingly to the Cincinnati Bengals, 34-11. It keeps Detroit winless and the Lions now sit atop the draft order for the first overall selection in the 2022 NFL draft.

At this point in the season, many fans have given this team the benefit of the doubt going through a rebuild, but recently, there has been one player, in particular, many have put their frustration towards.

Jared Goff was brought over to be more than just a bridge quarterback, but right now, many are questioning if he should even continue to start through the season. Now you can point to the practice squad like offensive players the Lions are currently rolling with causing some of these frustrations, but the fact of the matter is Goff is not doing anything to help elevate these players.

You really have to start wondering if he is more in his head than we think. Did Sean McVay destroy any confidence he had? It is hard to answer that question, but he looks to be playing scared every time he steps into a throw. He doesn’t believe in making any deep play, and it has shown with the severe lack of explosive players. If teams know he won’t make these plays, and nothing has said he will, teams will play much closer, making it that much tougher to find a player to throw to.

The biggest problem so far is Goff will predetermine the throw before the snap, and if it isn’t there, that’s when the problems start happening. There will be players wide open on multiple occasions, but Goff focuses on that one throw and, at the end of the day, dooms any potential momentum-shifting plays.

After yet another very poor game from Goff, the biggest shadow surrounding the Lions as of late is if they should bench Goff in favor of backup David Blough. It seems Dan Campbell isn’t ready to give up on Goff yet but feels he needs to improve dramatically.

“I don’t put this all on Jared Goff,” Campbell said in his postgame press conference. “This is a collective. This is collective offensively for everything from, how can we help schematically to—man, are we MA-ing at the improper time? Are our guys getting open? Is he making the throw he should? Is he making the right read? So this is a collective. Believe me. This is a collective effort offensively that we’re digging ourselves into a ditch with offensively. So this is all of it.”

There is no reason to put all the blame on Goff. The offensive line is beaten up, the receiving corps is a mix of cast-offs, and some coaching calls are questionable. Campbell will look at the big picture and possibly see what may be hindering the progression of the Lions offense and possibly put Goff in a better situation. Still, Campbell feels Goff needs to step up and start making the necessary plays at the end of the day.

“No. No,” Campbell continued when asked if he considered benching Goff in the loss. “Now that doesn’t mean that something won’t ever come up. I’m going to look at everything. But—to me, this was not—this was a collective effort offensively. This was not—you can’t blame one person there.”

But the coach did put some culpability on Goff,

“Now, I will say this—I feel like (Goff) needs to step up more than he has. And I think he needs to help us just like everybody else. I think he’s going to 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. He needs help. And look, I told him out there, he knows this, but some of that stuff—we’re getting these holding calls, well it’s because he’s drifting back in the pocket 10 yards deep. That’s not fair to those guys either. If you hang on to the ball—it’s like I told you, this is a collective effort now. Everything goes hand-in-hand. But I want to see him step up, I do, I do because I think he can do it.”

Heading into next week against the Los Angeles Rams, Campbell and his coaching staff have their work cut out for them, and it starts with figuring out the Goff conundrum. As for Goff, he needs to figure out his demons, or otherwise, they will haunt him making it for a long, grueling season.