Trade talk: Breaking down with a Rams expert what Jared Goff brings to the Lions

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Jeff Risdon
·4 min read
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Now that the dust is settling on the blockbuster trade between the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams that sees the two teams swapping starting quarterbacks and the Rams including several premium draft picks, it’s time to figure out just what the Lions are getting in Jared Goff.

To help fill in some of the gaps on the new Lions quarterback, I asked Rams Wire editor Cam DaSilva a few questions about Goff’s time in Los Angeles.

Was Goff really that bad? Is he capable of helping the Lions? All that and more are in our honest conversation about Jared Goff.

Goff appeared to regress over the last couple of seasons. Lions fans are trying to figure out how much the offense and personnel changed around him and how much that factors into the decline?

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Sean McVay definitely added some wrinkles to the offense, and there were some personnel changes, but I certainly wouldn’t pin Goff’s struggles on those adjustments. The only major differences were the departures of Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks last offseason, and Goff wasn’t playing well even when they were in the lineup in 2019. The offensive line regressed significantly from 2018 to 2019, so that was part of the reason for his drop-off two seasons ago. But it improved in 2020 and Goff was still making the same mistakes.

What is one throw that Goff reliably makes when he needs it?

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A lot of the Rams’ routes were in-breaking patterns over the middle, and there’s a reason for that. Goff does have success throwing between the numbers, especially on dig routes. He’s made some impressive throws over the years on such concepts, fitting the ball over the linebackers and in front of the safeties. He can also throw out routes pretty consistently despite not having a rocket of an arm. His timing with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods on those patterns was impressive.

Goff has a rep for being unathletic. Are we talking just a slow runner or is it Eli Manning "has that guy ever seen a weight room" bad?

He’s just a slow runner, I would say. He’s not someone who looks like he hits the weight room much, having a skinnier frame, but I wouldn’t say he’s immobile like Tom Brady or Drew Brees – who are admittedly much older. He actually did have some success on rollouts and bootlegs, throwing on the run when the field was condensed to one side. He can rarely escape the pocket when things collapse, but don’t expect him to scramble for 20 yards or pick up many first downs on the ground.

How much do you think the tension between Goff and coach Sean McVay impacted Goff's play?

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I don’t think it played much of a role in Goff’s performance on the field, but I do think it was a factor in their split. McVay tried to cater the offense to Goff’s strengths by utilizing a lot of play action and bootlegs, which helped both the quarterback and his offensive line. McVay’s play designs also translated to a lot of open receivers, which is seen in Goff’s low aggressiveness rate of 12.7%; he rarely had to throw into tight windows. I think this decision to move on from Goff has to do with McVay wanting a quarterback who processes things more quickly, has better mobility and is willing to take shots down the field. Goff struggled in all of those areas.

Are the Rams in cap trouble enough that they're going to need to cut a player or two the Lions might find useful, like a pass rusher or WR?

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They’re not in the best cap shape, but they have a lot of flexibility with restructures, so I don’t expect them to fully purge their roster of talent. But given their financial situation, Leonard Floyd and Josh Reynolds are both unlikely to re-sign this offseason. They’ll be unrestricted free agents and both were starters in 2020. Reynolds is a taller receiver, a long-strider, but he doesn’t win downfield like you’d want him to. Floyd had the best year of his career playing alongside Aaron Donald and made himself a lot of money this season.