Picture this. The 2023 NFL season comes to a close. Analysts and fans alike wait with bated breath for the MVP results. The names roll out. Among the Burrows, the Allens and the Mahomes’ of the world, one name stands out: Jared Goff. Yeah, you read that right.
Here’s why that scenario might not be as farfetched as you think.
Take a hypothetical scenario where Goff, under center, powers the Lions to 12 victories, an NFC North division title, and a playoff win. These feats alone should command MVP consideration, especially given the Lions’ playoff victory drought since January 5, 1992.
2022 vs. 2023
The Detroit Lions quarterback doesn’t even need to make colossal statistical improvements next season to plant himself in the MVP conversation. Last year, Goff nailed a 65.1% completion rate, flung for 4,438 yards, and threw 29 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. His passer rating stood at a respectable 99.3. Yes, there’s room for improvement, but he has the groundwork laid out.
Entering 2023, Goff has a deeper offensive line, more weapons at his disposal, and the run game should be vastly improved. It’s not unreasonable to think of a season where Jared Goff throws for at least 4,750 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Coaching Consistency is Key
But there’s more to this narrative than a hypothetical scenario and past stats. The 2023 season comes with stability. For the first time in Goff’s career, he is going to have the same offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in back-to-back seasons. Goff will once again collaborate with OC Ben Johnson and QB Coach Mark Brunell, and this continuity could be a significant piece to elevate his game to new heights.
- 2016 Rams: Jeff Fisher (HC), Rob Boras (OC), Chris Weinke (QB Coach)
- 2017 Rams: Sean McVay (HC), Matt LaFleur (OC), Greg Olson (QB Coach)
- 2018 Rams: Sean McVay (HC), Jedd Fisch (Senior Offensive Assistant), Zac Taylor (QB Coach)
- 2019 Rams: Sean McVay (HC), Jedd Fisch (Assistant OC), Shane Waldron (QB Coach)
- 2020 Rams: Sean McVay (HC), Kevin O’Connell (OC), Liam Coen (Assistant QB Coach)
- 2021 Lions: Dan Campbell (HC), Anthony Lynn (OC), Mark Brunell (QB Coach)
- 2022 Lions: Dan Campbell (HC), Ben Johnson (OC), Mark Brunell (QB Coach)
- 2023 Lions: Dan Campbell (HC), Ben Johnson (OC), Mark Brunell (QB Coach)
Goff’s secret weapon is his decision-making. His efficient, accurate arm led to an impressive 8.1 yards per attempt (YPA) in 2022, ranking him fifth in the NFL. He didn’t need to heave long bombs downfield; he simply excelled at exploiting good matchups and creating space for his receivers by feeding them the ball with precision. With Ben Johnson’s guidance, two new running backs that excel in the pass game, and Jameson Williams rejoining the team in week 7, we can expect Goff to make even bigger strides in the YPA department.
Furthermore, the Lions have equipped Goff with a strong set of offensive weapons. Rookie talents Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta are ready to make an impact, while budding star Jameson Williams is slated to return. All this firepower, coupled with arguably a top 3 offensive line, sets Goff up nicely for a breakout season.
No, I’m not claiming Jared Goff is on the same level with the likes of Mahomes, Burrow, Herbert, Allen, or Lawrence. But I genuinely believe that the Lions, with Goff under center, will outperform 2 or 3 of those QB’s teams next season.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © Bob Donnan -USA TODAY Sports