Debunking the "Goff Can't Read a Defense" Myth

Happy Sunday Den!

Goal here is to debunk the notion that Goff can’t read a defense, especially pre-snap.

It’s pretty freaking easy to do. Any one of us on this board can learn to read a defense as well as we can read and write on this forum. I’ll post some reading defenses for dummies links for those that want to go deeper. I understand there are graduate level nuances in the NFL but he can do this.

Goff has proven time and again he can read a defense. Here is his youtube pre draft with Mariucci from 6 year ago discussing single high coverage:

Goff can read a defense pre-snap end of story. He may be fooled at times thinking it’s man when it’s zone or that it’s blitz when it’s drop but that is part of the game and normal for all QBs (and OCs) to guess wrong at times with audibles and play calls respectively.

Post-snap is a lot harder for all QBs because there is less time to diagnose all the switches, blitzers, and those dropping into coverage in man vs zone. A lot of college QBs do single-read RPOs, or Options and can’t hack it at the NFL level where single reads don’t work to the same effectiveness.

Post-snap gets harder because while Goff can clearly read defenses post-snap, this is where mistakes are more likely (for all QBs) and especially under pressure. I can understand arguments that claim Goff may be below average reading defenses post-snap and under duress. Under McVay he has been slightly below average, but is that because of the offense and play-calling?

How much was McVay vs Goff? By all accounts McVay is a micromanager and dictated much of the play up until the 15 second mark. He was showing his frustration as documented by all the recent articles and his own admission that made for a toxic game day situation. His play calling was poor and we can’t tell if that was lack of trust in Goff or hubris in trying to trick opposing defenses with combo plays that would go one way then the other out of the same formation.

Lynn will have a completely different and more traditional approach, I believe. They’ll have an array of plays designed to attack the situation instead of a few formations with a ton of variants (McVay).

While Lynn’s offense may not look as motion-based, if well executed, it will likely be more effective and dependable game to game.

I can’t wait to see this season unfold. I can totally see Stafford struggling to work with McVay the way McVay wants to run the show. I can see them lighting the NFL on fire the 1st half of the season only to collapse in the 2nd. I can also see Stafford struggling early and eventually mastering it to strong effect as long as he is healthy.

For the Lions, a good coaching staff will be able to take the pieces here and put a good/above average product on the field. I expect the lions to finish in the top half of offenses or I will be very concerned about the long-term viability of Lynn and crew. Defense probably has the most room to grow from bottom 5 to 15-25. Both those things should happen THIS YEAR if we are to see hope for 2022.

Links to the basics of reading defenses:


Nice effort, but realize you’re making a logical argument to counter what is mostly an emotional one.

Most of the anti-Goff sentiment in here has little to do with what kind of QB Goff actually is. The negative reactions to him are mostly around him as an impediment to drafting a QB.

Some people want Fields specifically, others are in love with the idea of a running QB, and some people just love the shiny newness of perceived unlimited potential that only prospects can have.

I predict most of this will die down in roughly a week and a half.


Good post! But, this debate will not die down until real games are played in September for both Staff and Goff.

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Broad brush there.

But, whatever.

Yep. Awesome.