The Detroit Lions are 0-8-1 after a Week 10 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and while the D’Andre Swift led rushing attack got them close to their first victory of the season, the passing (and kicking) game held them back just enough to keep them from it eliminating the zero from their record.
Yes, quarterback Jared Goff was injured, and yes, coach Dan Campbell took over play-calling duties for the first time in his coaching career, but this looked like the same passing attack we have seen all season.
Look no further than Goff’s passing chart from the game, and you’ll notice before overtime, there were a lot of familiar dot placements, only throwing past 10 yards (heck, six yards) three times in regulation—and all three were incomplete:
So, if Campbell calling plays isn’t going to unlock the deep ball, is there another option to do so? That brings us to our question of the day:
Can Josh Reynolds unlock the Lions’ deep ball?
Reynolds wasn’t active last week as he was acclimating to the Lions but he is expected to absorb enough of the playbook this week in order to be ready for the team's Week 11 matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
“It was more just I wanted to make sure that when he’s up,” Campbell said of Reynolds on Monday, “he has a chance to have some success—there is enough that he knows in the playbook—before we just throw him to the wolves. That’s all. I mean, not that he couldn’t handle a couple of plays, but I just felt like we had just gotten him and we’ve worked some of these other guys and I wanted him to be able to digest what we were doing before. But, he’ll be up this week.”
Reynolds has the potential to be a deep threat and if his chemistry picks up where it left off with Goff from their time in Los Angeles, on paper he appears to be a potential option downfield. In the previous three seasons with the Rams, Reynolds averaged 13.9, 15.5, and 11.9 receiving yards per route run catching passes from Goff. Not massive numbers, but further than six yards.
So is Reynolds the key?
My answer: Probably not
There is no doubt Reynolds brings a new element to the Lions' passing attack, and his familiarity with Goff should shorten the learning curve, but it seems very likely that the Goff we have seen in Detroit so far is the Goff we’re going to see for the rest of the season.
Maybe that’s being too pessimistic, but even when Goff had Tyrell Williams as an option in training camp, the deep ball was almost never there. Now, there will be occasional shots—we have seen that on occasion each game—but finding sustained success downfield seems unachievable with the current situation, regardless of who is calling plays and who is catching passes.
Your turn. Do you agree? Or am I being shortsighted? Sound off in the chat below: