Here is my experience with Goff and why I think he can help take the Lions to the playoffs as soon as this year. (Will take a good roster and coaching too).
Having been a Cal fan since 2000, the Bears had been in a long cycle of being a terrible pac-10 team. We had Kyle “Jesus in Cleats” Boller who was the #1 overall HS QB in the country. We had a brief rise to prominence peaking out in 2004 with Aaron Rodgers as our QB and Marshawn Lynch as our RB. Then a decline until HC Tedford was let go.
Enter 2013 and Goff
Brand new coaching staff needs to turn around one of the worst offenses in the country. Personally, I’m rooting for Zach Kline, a strong armed elite 11 RS frosh from my high school very much in the mold of Kyle Boller. Instead we choose to go with a string bean 160lbs true freshman named Jared Goff. He looked like a stiff wind would blow him over. He showed accuracy, readiness, and touch that Kline couldn’t. He was shockingly prepared and tough.
His freshman year was a true bright light on a terrible 1-11 team. He had zero time in the pocket. A horrific defense. He stood tall and fought to record production numbers. After 3 years he continued to build and grow culminating in a winning record for the first time in a decade and a huge 5 TD performance over Air Force in the Armed Service Bowl. This why he was the #1 overall pick in the 2016 draft.
What I personally saw was a QB that was nearly as good as Aaron Rodgers and better than any other Cal QB i’ve watched by a landslide. His accuracy, anticipation, and pocket presence were well beyond other Pac10/12 star QBs like Mariota and Darnold that were on MUCH better teams with FAR superior offensive lines and RBs.
Enter 2016 and the Returning to LA Rams.
A horrible offense that even the experienced Case Keenum couldn’t do anything with (and would later get to the NFC championship on a better Vikings team). Goff was completely lost and had 2 WRs with stone hands. He still showed the ability to make some good plays on a terribly coached team.
By 2017 McVay comes in and takes a fairly talented roster (because of all the 1st rounders they’d gotten), makes a couple FA changes that are key (Whitworth and Woods) and all of a sudden the team can function and win games.
In 2018 the Rams set the world on fire with Goff and McVay. The wide offense was innovative and kept defenses on their heels. By the Lions game after the bye, the lions go 6 wide on the line of scrimmage taking away the wide game and nearly pull off the upset. Now the rams offense has been figured out and by the time they get to Billichik with a missing Kupp and hurt Todd Gurley, the offense is now completely shut down in the Superbowl. Offense has never been the same since then. 2019 OL was decimated by injuries. Goff struggled but did have a lot of bright spots behind a shaky line and still a winning season. 2020 the line had more consistency but still wasn’t a strength. Scheme looks figured out and pedestrian. Was it McVay’s lack of trust or lack of innovation? We can’t tell yet.
Enter 2021 Detroit Lions.
Lions aim towards a winning season and more.
The first thing it will take is a roster makeover. Younger and more depth across the board. Holmes is up to the task. He knows how to identify under the radar players. He will trade down a couple high draft picks and expensive FAs in exchange for more good players that can compete. The NFL has a ton of injuries every season. You can’t rely on a few stars. You need that next man up to be just as good.
Next it will take a coaching philosophy that the players can understand and execute. The coaches by all accounts are ex players and have proven success. We will likely see a much better coached defense and higher executing run game. The lions will show up prepared and ready to lead the game instead of striving for a comeback.
Lastly, it will be a team that can continue to tweak and improve into late November/December and beyond. A team that peaks at the right time. A team that can sustain injuries at important positions. That can be better in game 16+ then game 1.
At the helm I expect Goff to be there leading the offense. Efficient. Productive. Slicing up unprepared teams. Finding the holes in the top defenses. Not a flashy Mahomes, but a much more methodical Brady taking what the defense gives and moving the chains consistently.