Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell, like general manager Brad Holmes and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson earlier this offseason, said he likes the way veteran quarterback Jared Goff finished last season and how he has set himself to keep that success going in 2022.
After a slow start and a winless streak of 11 games to begin his first year in Detroit after coming over in the trade for Matthew Stafford, Goff played really well down the stretch after Campbell and Johnson took over the offense, and some of Detroit's skill weapons outside – mainly wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds – elevated their play. Goff finished last season strong, recording a 3-2-1 record in his last six starts with 11 touchdowns vs. two interceptions and a passer rating north of 100.0.
It's that finish that has Campbell comfortable with where his veteran is at heading into his second season with the Lions. But that doesn't necessarily mean Campbell won't look to add to the position if he thinks there's a player who can help them.
"Look, I like Goff," Campbell said last week. "I like where he's at. I thought he finished strong last year. I'm glad we've got him this year. And I like the prospects that are in this draft, I do."
While it's not as strong of a quarterback class as we've seen in recent years, the Lions were able to coach two of the top quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl – Liberty's Malik Willis and North Carolina's Sam Howell – who are considered first-to-early-second-round picks. Campbell said he likes both signal callers.
In Goff, the Lions have a veteran who has taken a team to a Super Bowl, been to multiple Pro Bowls, is only 27 years old and has played at a high level in this league.
There was a lot of quarterback movement in the NFL this offseason with Russell Wilson going to Denver and Deshaun Watson to Cleveland.
They join Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and others in an AFC Conference stacked with elite quarterbacks.
While having a signal caller like Mahomes or Allen makes everything easier on offense because of their ability to adjust and extend plays when they break down, Campbell doesn't necessarily think a team needs one of the elite passers to win in this league.
"Guys like that are obviously special and they can certainly give you a better chance, but I don't believe you have to have one of those guys to have sustained success," he said. "What is best for us right now? Right now what gives us the best chance? Let's build this roster.
"Now, the right guy is sitting there at the right pick at (quarterback), then let's do it. But we like Goff. I like where he's at. He finished strong. Keep adding pieces and then whenever that is (to add a quarterback), is it next year? Is it this year? Is it two years from now? And the right guy is sitting there, then you figure out a way to get that guy when it's the right guy."
View photos of the top quarterback prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Entering the second year of Detroit's rebuild, Holmes & Campbell have done a nice job so far building the offensive roster around Goff. The addition of tackle Penei Sewell with last year's No. 7 overall pick solidified Detroit's offensive line. St. Brown had a terrific rookie season. The re-singing of Reynolds and the addition of free agent DJ Chark gives Goff some threats at the wide receiver position, with potentially more to come via the draft. T.J. Hockenson is a Pro Bowl tight end, and running back D'Andre Swift is trending in that direction after a terrific second season. Offensively, Detroit has a chance to be much improved this season.
The Lions are hoping Goff comes out and plays like he did to finish the 2021 season. If he does that, they are confident they can win games.