Entering the 2021 offseason, expectations for the Detroit Lions were low. Really low. But as the offseason wore on, expectations for certain players grew. Some players were expected to hold down leadership roles. Others saw their hype grow as reports based on reports from the staff, media, or after a promising preseason.
But as we entered the regular season, some of those players failed to live up to their predetermined expectations. Today, we continue our bye week series of 2021 Lions midseason superlatives with our staff picking their choices for the most disappointing player over the first half of the season.
Note: In order to get these articles submitted on time, some of these responses were given before Week 8’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Who is the Detroit Lions’ most disappointing player at the midway point?
Mike Payton: Jared Goff
It’s very easily Jared Goff. It’s no secret that I was the guy that told everyone that it was possible we hadn’t seen the best of Goff yet. I was wrong. Goff has been very bad in 2021 and the Lions have suffered for that. Goff is broken and I’m not sure he’ll ever be fixed again. It’s sad, but he’ll go down as another quarterback that Lions fans like to make jokes about or talk about when they’re referencing the bad days of the franchise.
Erik Schlitt: Michael Brockers
Brockers was brought in as a veteran leader who could show a young team how to find success in the NFL. The team has put him in a leadership role and expectations were high he could be the best player on this defense. I attributed some of his early struggles to a shoulder issue he was dealing with throughout training camp, but he has been relatively healthy for a few weeks now and the results on the field just aren’t there. There’s still a role for him on this team for certain, but it’s time to consider scaling his snap counts back and getting the youth more reps.
Hamza Baccouche: Trinity Benson
This is all a matter of expectations. If the Lions had claimed Benson off waivers instead of trading for him, we wouldn’t be batting an eye at his presence (or lack thereof). However, any time draft capital is involved, no matter how small, it’s going to place a burden on your shoulders. Benson has been unable to bear that burden, posting six receptions for 55 yards through almost half a season. Not the kind of production you want from a guy you traded for in a talent-depleted wide receivers room. This will be the first noticeable blemish on Brad Holmes’ resume as Lions GM, and it reeks terribly of the Mike Thomas trade that Martin Mayhew made at the trade deadline back in 2012 when the Lions were starved for receiver help.
Kyle Yost: Derrick Barnes
Lions fans should know to not get too excited about rookies, but Barnes has yet to make a positive impact so far. He makes a lot of tackles, but is a pretty big liability in coverage and will take some seasoning to feel good throwing out there. This is par for the course for a fourth-rounder, but it is a disappointment for the diamond-in-the-rough crowd.
John Whiticar: Jeff Okudah
Jeff Okudah’s Achilles injury hurts on so many levels. Here’s a young and promising player that finally gets a chance to shine in a defense not anchored by playcalling, and he suffers a serious injury right off the bat. Worst of all, there’s no guarantee he returns to form, and it is leading to many calling him a bust already. I was so excited to see him break out this year, but the only thing breaking was my heart.
Kellie Rowe: Okudah.
Injuries are nobody’s fault but that doesn’t mean we’re not disappointed. There’s a ton of pressure and investment that comes with being drafted third overall, and so far the Lions aren’t seeing the returns. In his rookie season, he struggled with injuries and acclimating to the skill level of the NFL. He would miss seven games with injuries and this year was ruled out for the season with a ruptured Achilles after only one game. As the Lions rebuild during this atrocious season, we should at least be watching Okudah grow and develop his skills, but that isn’t the case.
Andrew Kato: Goff
Count me among the delusional who thought Goff was being slammed too hard before the season. The passing charts coming out of these games make me sad, but I guess none of this should have been a surprise. The sorry state of the deep passing game is turning out to be as bad as people were dreading.
Morgan Cannon: Goff
There is really no way around this. Jared Goff has not been good. His decision-making and ball security have been particularly bad.
Yes, his supporting cast isn’t going to generate a lot of headlines. But Goff does himself no favors with how he is consistently turning the ball over and taking sacks that veteran quarterbacks are not supposed to take. The offense has essentially flatlined over the last month and the quarterback is at the center of it all.
Ryan Mathews: Goff
It’s easy to pile on the quarterback when things aren’t going right for the team, but right now, it feels warranted.
Goff’s play has been, to borrow a quote from Dan Campbell’s post-game conference on Sunday, a sea of trash. His surface-level statistics aren’t alarmingly bad at first glance, but as you dig deeper, you find they’re wildly inflated because of garbage time. Yes, he doesn’t have topflight wide receivers to throw to. Yes, his offensive line is full of holes due to injury. But is it also true that Goff’s limited mobility, arm strength, and lack of pocket awareness are on full display each and every week? These things aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s all true. And while the expectations for Goff coming into the season were tamed due to an underwhelming training camp, he has managed to play even worse.
Jeremy Reisman: Goff.
I wanted to believe that a change in scenery and a more supportive cast could work Goff through the mental processing issues he’s currently dealing with—and part of me wants to cling to that hope once he has a competent supporting cast—but the truth is this Jared Goff is the same one we saw in Los Angeles for the past two years—when he had a pretty darn good supportive cast.
At this point, it’s pretty clear Goff won’t be the guy for the future, and while I had a pretty good idea that was the case—especially after seeing him in training camp—I didn’t expect to come to that conclusion so quickly. He’s indecisive, he doesn’t trust his arm, and while he’s far from the only problem with Detroit’s offense, it’s clear he’s not mitigating any of that damage.
Who is the Detroit Lions’ most disappointing player at the midway point of the season?
This poll is closed