Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Detroit Lions fans and fans across the country.
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This is our final SB Nation Reacts poll of the 2022-23 season and we wrap things up with two recurring questions:
- Are you confident the Lions are headed in the right direction? (asked weekly)
- Is Jared Goff the Lions' quarterback of the future? (asked quarterly)
In our weekly confidence poll, the fans’ approval has been above 90% since Week 11 and checked in last week at a healthy 98%—the fifth time this season that the survey results have been at 98% or higher. After Detroit beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau field in the regular season finale to end Green Bay’s playoff hopes, I don’t expect that number to drop this week.
Now for our quarterly question surrounding Jared Goff and his future with the Lions.
It’s been quite a season for Goff. After four games, we asked our quarterly question and 70% of fans believed Goff was indeed the Lions' quarterback of the future. But the team struggled over the next set of games and even after a win over the Packers in Week 9 brought the Lions’ record back up to 2-6, fans' confidence in Goff took a sharp blow. After eight games, just 18% of fans believed Goff was the team’s future quarterback.
As the Lions began to stack wins, fans were once again polled after 12 games. With the record at 5-7 at the time, confidence in the team and Goff was rising. At that three-quarter milestone, poll results showed 66% of Lions fans were back on the Goff train.
One way we charted Goff’s progress was through quarterly statistics, identifying those most relevant to quarterback play. Here’s how he performed over the final five games, as well as a look at where he ranked for the season as a whole.
Note: Blue = Top 5 ranking, Green = Top 10, Yellow = Top 20, Pink = Not in top 20
To say Goff found his stride over the last quarter of the season is an understatement. Not only did he finish top five in nearly every category (all but air to sticks) for the final stretch of games, he was so efficient that he pulled his overall season scores in those categories up into the top seven.
The air to sticks (passes thrown in relation to the first down marker) anomaly likely speaks to Goff and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson’s desire to reduce turnovers. After throwing seven interceptions over the first half of the season, Goff kept a clean sheet over the final nine games and didn’t throw any interceptions. That was a massive reason why the Lions had the fewest turnovers in the NFL this season.
Goff is arguably playing the best football of his career but quarterback is such a unique position that his style of play, consistency over previous seasons, or hiccup in the middle of this season could still leave some fans with concerns about his future projection.
Fans may also be worried about his $30 million cap hit over each of the next two seasons. They might prefer to gamble on a rookie quarterback that could give the team more cap space over the next five seasons (assuming they draft the right quarterback).
So, is Jared Goff the Lions quarterback of the future?
Time to vote!