October 18, 2021

Jared Goff thinks the Lions can win the NFC North (and no, we couldnt get through writing this headline witho – Deadspin


He’ll understand soon enough.

He’ll understand soon enough.
Image: Getty Images

Jared Goff must have dreamed of being back in sunny southern California Sunday night and woke up Monday morning thinking he was still in Los Angeles playing for the Rams. Speaking with reporters Monday, the Detroit Lions QB sounds optimistic about the team’s chances this year. This is after the Lions finished 0-3 in the preseason. It’s just the preseason, but these are the Lions. So, it means something.

“We feel really good,” Goff said Monday. “I’ve talked about this at length. Internally, our expectations are to win games and, first of all, win the division. That’s always the expectation, win the division and then go from there.”

This type of optimism out of Goff sounds good, but it’s evidence of his recent arrival in Detroit if he thinks this team has a chance to win the division. If I’m not mistaken, Aaron Rodgers is still with the Packers in that same NFC north division. The Lions haven’t played in the postseason since 2016. (PS:They haven’t won a postseason game since 1991.) So, you could say they are due, but even the playoffs, period, will be a long shot for them in the NFC.

“Just like every other team in this league, there’s expectations, and I don’t know what the stat is, but every year there’s new teams in the playoffs. Every year there’s teams that were in the playoffs last year that aren’t, and why not us? Why can’t we be that one that wasn’t in last year that is this year?”

Goff is speaking some truth here. Every year, a couple of teams fall out of the playoffs from the previous year, and new teams replace them. But the Lions haven’t been any good for some time. If we’re looking at the overall picture, they’ve never really been good.

This Lions franchise has watched its two best players retire with great years still ahead of them. Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson (Megatron) had enough and decided to call it a career early on the Lions. The Lions have been a doormat around the league for as far back as most of us can remember. They’ve had talent over the years but can’t seem to ever put things together over an extended period.

Now they’ve got a kneecap biter in new head coach Dan Campbell. I get the motivational speech but come on. Hopefully, for Lions fans, Campbell will spark something inside these players that translates to the field. Goff sure seems to think his new head coach can get this team on the winning track. His cup runneth over with optimism.

“That was the approach taken in L.A., and it worked for us, and then here we played in the first game, and I feel like it’s worked,” he said. “We’ve supplemented it well in practice and gotten the work we need in, and we all trust Dan and think the plan is great and we’re ready to go.”

We don’t know about the rest of the team, but we can certainly see how much Goff trusts and believes in Campbell. As the QB, that’s a good sign, and, usually, if the signal-caller is behind the head coach, the rest will follow. Goff is a veteran QB who is used to being in the playoffs, making it three of the last four years with the Rams. Matthew Stafford led the Lions to the postseason three times in 12 seasons. That was with Megatron for more than half of Stafford’s tenure in Detroit.

Again, Goff’s glass-half-full attitude is fantastic, and I’m sure it sells in the locker room. But reality does exist. And the Lions’ reality is likely to be another sub .500 year and another new head coach within the next two to three years. We’ll see how Goff feels after a couple of seasons and frigid winters in Detroit. Hopefully, he’ll still be able to walk around with his head held high. And hopefully, he’ll still be calling Campbell his head coach.