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Mailbag: Does Jared Goff truly need everything to be perfect to succeed?

There is a narrative that Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff needs a “perfect” situation and a “perfect” supporting cast to succeed. Is that really true, or is that true for almost every franchise quarterbacK?

Detroit Lions v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions are closing in on decision time for Jared Goff. With two years remaining on his contract—and now a potential replacement option in Hendon Hooker on the roster—the team could make a decision on Goff’s future as early as this offseason with an extension.

But it’s fair to say that not everyone in Detroit is convinced Goff is the franchise quarterback for this team. One of the most popular narratives out there is that in order to be successful, Goff need “everything to be perfect” around him. He needs perfect protection from his offensive line and a litany of weapons to throw the ball to.

It’s easy to see where this line of thinking comes from. In Los Angeles, Goff was afforded an embarrassment of riches on offense: a solid offensive line, a great running game, a smart playcaller, and an elite defense. When some of those things started to slide—poor offensive line play, ineffective rushing attack—suddenly the Rams were looking to upgrade the quarterback position.

Even in Detroit, we’ve seen evidence of this. In Year 1, Goff was unable to elevate a poor receiver group until late in the season. And in 2022, when the Lions were hurt particularly bad with injuries both to the offensive line and the receivers, the Lions offense was ineffective.

But is any of that really out of the ordinary? Doesn’t it make sense that, too, that any quarterback is going to look worse with a poor supporting cast? Sure there are the elite three or four quarterbacks who will make plays out of nothing, but even they need a good supporting cast to succeed. Patrick Mahomes has had Tyreek HIll and Travis Kelce. Josh Allen has Stefon Diggs. Joe Burrow has Ja’Marr Chase.

On this week’s Midweek Mailbag discussion, we discuss this narrative that Goff needs everything to be perfect around him. Here’s a snippet of that conversation:

Erik: “They were missing a starting guard all year, (D’Andre) Swift was hurt, the receiving crew was in and out on their availability. So while I do think there is some merit to the fact that he works better in certain situations, any good team with a good offensive coordinator is going to recognize that about their players, and then put those players positions to succeed.”

Jeremy: “You always want to tailor your roster to your quarterback, right? He’s the guy that you build around, so the fact that the Lions are doing that isn’t a (demerit) on Jared Goff’s record. It’s them recognizing that he’s their centerpiece. They want to do what he does well and build and offense around that. That’s just being a good offensive coordinator.”


Jeremy: “Last year, there was a stretch of period where guys were injured, and he was really bad during that time, but that stretch also happened to be at the very beginning of the year—again, new offensive coordinator, new system. Let’s give him a full year of, ‘Now you’re comfortable in the system. Now you have an identity. Now you have the confidence. These first six games, you’re not going to have Jamo. PFF thinks you have the 10th-worst receiving corps in the league.’ Well, that’s not perfect for a quarterback. Let’s see how he does in the first six games.”

That conversation kicks off our show.

Other topics this week:

  • Marvin Jones Jr., Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds: Who has the most production for the Lions in 2023? (10:30)
  • What does it mean to “put more on the plate” of a position coach or coordinator? (17:00)
  • What are Lions coaches doing to improve on their own? (19:45)
  • CONSPIRACY THEORY TIME: Aaron Donald to the Lions at the trade deadline? (24:55)
  • Who are we most excited to see at training camp: 1 rookie, 1 veteran (29:15)
  • Can Amon-Ra St. Brown be a true deep threat? Should the Lions even try when he does everything else so well? (38:00)

You can listen to the show below:

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