Jared Goff: Detroit Lions are not in rebuild mode, 'I plan to put us over the top'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
·7 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Jared Goff does not see the Detroit Lions as being in a rebuild, and he probably shouldn't. That would be kind of defeatist for the new Lions quarterback to feel that way.

Goff said in his introductory news conference Friday he believes the Lions can win quickly, and it's his job as quarterback to make that happen.

"It’s not a rebuild at all, to be honest," Goff said. "I know you guys are going to throw that word around. I don’t see it as that at all. I think it takes the right pieces to win, but it can happen in one offseason.

"It’s going to take a lot of hard work and that’s the challenge that I think I’m most excited for is this challenge of bringing this team and bringing this city and bringing this culture back to what it should be."

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff throws a touchdown pass against the Minnesota Vikings at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Sept. 27, 2018.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff throws a touchdown pass against the Minnesota Vikings at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Sept. 27, 2018.

I don't know yet if Goff is the Lions' long-term answer at the quarterback position — more on that later — but I do know that, if he is, he's built to take this team through what most everyone outside the organization recognizes as a rebuild.

[ What went wrong with Jared Goff in L.A., and why new Lions QB can get right in Detroit ]

Cal went 1-11 in Goff's first season in 2013, when Goff started 12 games. He guided the program to five wins in his second season, when the roster was in poor shape around him. And in his final season at Cal, before declaring early for the NFL, Goff led the Golden Bears to an 8-5 record and bowl game.

The No. 1 pick by the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, Goff went through a similar process in college, following a 4-12 rookie campaign with 11- and 13-win seasons, the latter of which ended in the Super Bowl.

"I know it won’t happen overnight, I know it won’t happen in a week, it won’t happen in a month, but it can happen very quickly," Goff said. "It’s the right people and they’re doing it the right way, and I think from all I’ve heard about (Lions owner) Sheila (Ford Hamp) and everything she’s done since she got to take over (last spring), it’s really been a special thing so far."

Here are a few more quick thoughts and observations from Goff's introductory news conference:

Brad Holmes on Jared Goff's role

Lions general manager Brad Holmes was noncommittal about Goff being his quarterback long term. Holmes has said he is open to taking a quarterback in the first round of this year's draft. If that happens, Goff's stay in Detroit will be short.

Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff speaks to the media during his introductory news conference on Friday, March 19, 2021.
Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff speaks to the media during his introductory news conference on Friday, March 19, 2021.

Asked about that dynamic Friday, Holmes said, "I do expect Jared to come in and start to be our starting quarterback. I don’t see anything other than that. And then with respect to where we’re at, at seven overall with the draft pick, regarding the quarterback position is — like I’ve told you guys previously and it hadn’t changed — when you’re picking inside the top 10, you’re not in a position to ignore any position. You’re just not. So the quarterback position is very important and if the value’s there and if the right guy’s there then you know he’d be in every consideration."

Holmes said a big part of why the Rams' trade offer for Matthew Stafford was so attractive was because of Goff. The Lions also acquired a third-round pick this year in the deal, and first-round choices in 2022-23.

"I know a lot of people talk about the picks, but a lot of it was Jared," Holmes said. "Just the fact that, being able to acquire Jared. That’s the part that sometimes gets kind of, I don’t want to say lost, but it’s like, OK... third-round pick and two ones, but to have Jared. And again, it’s like I said earlier, his resume speaks for itself, he’s a proven winner, so for him to compete for the starting quarterback position and winning the starting quarterback position, I definitely expect him to reclaim that status."

Goff on Lions drafting a quarterback, city of Detroit

Goff, naturally, has thoughts on the Lions taking a quarterback at seven. And predictably, he did not want to get involved in that conversation Friday.

"We’ve had some discussions about different things with the draft and I’ll let them talk about that a little further," he said.

Goff, who was raised in California and has lived there throughout his college and professional career, spent the past few days in Detroit, getting acquainted with his new town and new team. He said both left strong impressions on him.

"This is a good change," Goff said. "It’s something I never knew I needed until now, and you kind of come out here and you experience it, and being downtown — I went downtown for dinner twice this week and seeing — I didn’t know much about Detroit until recently. And being down there and seeing the stadiums are all in the same block and everything’s really close, and it is a sports town. Being able to play in a sports town is special. It’s something that I’m excited about. I know football is king here and I plan to make it a winner."

Not used to losing

Goff has the second-most regular season wins by a quarterback since 2017, behind only Tom Brady, so he's used to winning in the NFL, He said he plans for that to continue with a franchise that has not won a playoff game in 30 years.

"It’s really the opportunity, ultimately, to be in a place that has wanted that for so long and has been so close but hasn’t been able to get over the top for a variety of reasons," he said. "Again, I plan to put us over the top. I plan that to be my job is to be the quarterback of this team and put us over the top and get to the playoffs and win multiple playoff games and win a championship."

Goff also acknowledged the competitor in him also wants to prove the Rams wrong.

He said he talked with Rams coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead about why things did not work out in L.A., and he said he took the trade personally.

More: What went wrong with Jared Goff in L.A., and why new Lions QB can get right in Detroit

"At first, absolutely," he said. "I think it builds that chip on your shoulder a little bit. I won’t lie about that. There is that little extra motivation and chip that you do feel. Again, I am so thankful for all my time there, but yeah, you do feel that. You do feel a little bit of, 'OK,' like, 'Let’s see what we can do now.'"

When he first learned of the trade, Goff said he was "disappointed for two minutes" before realizing the trade was the best thing for him.

"And then I spoke to these guys on the phone and it was like a breath of fresh air," he said. "Being able to hear from Dan (Campbell), being able to hear from Brad, being able to hear from A-Lynn (offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn). People around the organization. Rod (Wood), Sheila, everyone. It was immediate, ‘OK, this is where I’m supposed to be. This is how it’s supposed to go down.’

Why Holmes didn't use franchise tag on Kenny Golladay

Finally, Holmes declined to say why he did not use the franchise tag on receiver Kenny Golladay or otherwise address his free agency. Golladay reportedly is generating interest from multiple teams including the New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Jared Goff: No Detroit Lions rebuild, 'I plan to put us over the top'