The debate rages on whether the Detroit Lions took Jared Goff in their mega-trade with the Los Angeles Rams as a bridge quarterback to their next franchise passer to be drafted in the next few years or if the Lions believe they already have their quarterback of the future. Some believe if Rams head coach Sean McVay couldn’t keep him as an effective quarterback, nobody can. While others believe that under a new coaching staff who nurtures him a little more than McVay did, he can develop into something better.
Former Rams head coach Jeff Fisher clearly falls into that latter category. He was in charge when the Rams drafted Goff with the first overall pick in 2016, and he still remembers seeing enormous potential in the young quarterback when he was at the University of California’s Pro Day.
“It was raining and I was, personally, drying balls off so he could throw ‘em,” Fisher told Fox Sports Radio this week. “And watching him throw the wet ball in the rain, you could shut your eyes, you could hear it whistle through the air. So, in my opinion, he was the right decision, and I still think he’s got a lot left.”
Fisher made the decision to start Goff midway through his rookie season, hoping to get him some much-needed experience. The move may have cost Fisher his job, as the Rams went 0-7 with Goff as their starter. The rookie quarterback completed just 54.6 percent of his passes while throwing just five touchdowns to seven interceptions. Still, Fisher believes it was the right decision, simply because he had so little experience—even in his three years at Cal.
“Jared had never called a play in the huddle in college,” Fisher said.
And while Fisher admits he doesn’t know exactly what happened when McVay took over, he does believe being reunited with Lions general manager Brad Holmes, who pounded the table for Goff as the team’s director of college scouting, could help reignite his career.
“I’m excited for Jared to have an opportunity to work with Brad Holmes and that organization and Dan (Campbell). Jared just needs to take a deep breath and go play, and we’ll see what happens,” Fisher said.
Interestingly enough, Fisher noted that Holmes was in Goff’s corner the entire time the two were paired in Los Angeles.
“I know that Brad, the whole time he was there (in Los Angeles), was all about Jared and understands. Brad watched tape. Believe it or not, Brad watches tape. He saw what he was able to do,” Fisher said.
That does match many of the rumors we’ve heard since the Matthew Stafford-for-Goff trade went down. Peter King reported that both Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell view Goff as more than a bridge quarterback. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington said the Lions were “fired up” to get him. NFL Network’s Peter Schrager insists Goff wasn’t a “throw-in” of the trade.
If that’s how the Lions plan to go about Goff’s career in Detroit, there is minimal risk. The Lions don’t figure to be too competitive in 2021, so using the year as a tryout for Goff makes sense. If it works out, the Lions would be set at quarterback going forward. If it doesn’t, Goff’s contract is easy to get out of in 2022, and wouldn’t cost the Lions a dime if they part ways in 2023.
Regardless of Detroit’s current situation, Fisher believes Goff has a serious chance to turn it around.
“I think they’ve got some work to do up there, but I think he’s going to have an opportunity to go in there and compete. He’s still young.”
Hat tip to @Lions_1Pride for pointing me in the direction of this interview