Dan Campbell says Jared Goff has been ‘exceptional’, praises leadership
Jared Goff deserves credit for one thing. And it’s how he’s handling the situation the Lions dealt him. Goff’s only dynamic throwing target is T.J. Hockenson. He is entering his first season as the Lions’ starting quarterback with arguably the league’s most questionable receiving corps. Despite that, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has enormous faith in him.
The Lions expected Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, and Quintez Cephus to be standouts throughout training camp. Additionally, there was hope that Amon-Ra St. Brown and Kalif Raymond would make a name for themselves.
Two of them did their job.
That expectation fell flat with the others.
Williams and Cephus were ok. Nothing special jumped off the screen about their play training camp. And Perriman’s play led to his release. He battled a hip injury during the Lions’ camp. Perriman also failed to impress coaches, given his preseason play. Those two horrendous drops in the preseason finale likely sealed his fate.
St. Brown and Raymond were the standouts at wide receiver throughout camp. They had solid showings in the preseason games as well. Tom Kennedy played well also.
Still needing more depth, the Lions swung a trade with the Broncos to acquire Trinity Benson on Tuesday. Pride of Detroit released a report on their findings of Benson’s background. And on Wednesday, they claimed KhaDarel Hodge off waivers.
The Lions now sit at seven wide receivers when the early expectation was they’d head into the season with maybe five. Regardless of how many they start the season with, there are tons of questions. And the biggest one is who will be Goff’s best target outside of Hockenson.
Despite that, Dan Campbell’s recent comments suggest it shouldn’t bother Goff.
“Jared has been really exceptional for us. I didn’t know exactly what to expect,” said Campbell. “I liked the player. And having had to go against him, you know, for three years, before I got here, in big games….Man, I mentioned this before. He always gave us fits. And we had pretty good defense now in New Orleans.”
“But that guy would stand in there. He was tough. He could make all the throws. They always put up a lot of points. And I always had a lot of respect for him.”
And Campbell didn’t stop there either. In fact, he doubled-down on Goff, pointing out his leadership.
“So I knew he was tough, I knew he won a lot of games, but I didn’t know what kind of leader he was. I didn’t quite know how composed he was,” Campbell said. “And after being around him, man, he’s really… I’ll tell you what. He’s been impressive. Because he is, he’s got a lot of composure, and he is tough, and I love to put him in tough situations, as I do our team, in these end-of-game situations, and watch him kind of rise to the occasion, you know.”
“It’s something he thrives off of.”
Campbell being fond of Goff’s intangibles is great. It’s a far cry from the relationship he had with his former coach, Sean McVay. But a good relationship between the head coach and quarterback doesn’t always translate into success.
The Lions head coach wrapped up his remarks on Goff by outlining several more things he noticed since their time together.
“We’ve asked him to do things he hasnt had to do before, and you know, when we did some things in the spring, working on protection, and those things, it was new to him,” said Campbell. “But since then, my gosh he’s grown. And he’s gaining comfort and confidence with the O-line and the receivers. And he is man…he’s been exceptional.”
Regarding gaining comfort and confidence with the receivers, Campbell has to be referencing Goff’s rapport with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Kalif Raymond. Outside of his chemistry with Hockenson, those two with Jared Goff seem to have something brewing.
It’s still not enough, though.
To get the maximum potential out of Goff, the Lions will need to put more weapons around him at wideout. His time in Detroit can be short if he fails early or long-term if he impresses. After all, he’s only 26.
However, in order for Jared Goff to be in Detroit long-term and truly exceptional like Dan Campbell states, Detroit needs to acquire better targets.