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Jared Goff thrived when under center and the Lions played to his strength

Fans of a certain vintage might recall when quarterbacks were nearly always taking snaps under center. The shotgun formation was a novelty instead of the norm.

In today’s NFL, over 83 percent of all offensive snaps come with the quarterback in some form of shotgun formation. Some quarterbacks, notably Jalen Hurts and Joe Burrow, take over 95 percent of their snaps in the shotgun.

That’s not what Jared Goff does. The Lions quarterback is comfortable working under center, and the offensive scheme plays to Goff’s ability. Goff was one of just two NFL quarterbacks who was not in the shotgun on at least 75 percent of snaps in 2023.

Goff and the Lions operated in the gun just 74.1 percent of the time. Only Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins, a similar type of pocket/play-action passer, was under center for a higher percentage than Goff.

Goff was statistically better when under center than in the gun, too. While there was little difference in the completion percentage, Goff averaged 2.0 yards per attempt (9.0 to 7.0) and over 2.6 more air yards per attempt from under center (9.58 to 6.97). He also had a lower sack rate (8 percent to 5.5) and lower INT rate (1.9 percent to 3.3 percent) when under center.

Not every offense can operate with such a high frequency of playing under center, and not every quarterback is comfortable doing it, either. Goff’s percentage of snaps under center rather than in the shotgun has increased in each of his three seasons in Detroit, a sign that coordinator Ben Johnson and coach Dan Campbell are further tailoring the offense to fit what Goff does well.

All data is from SIS and Pro Football Reference

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire