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O'HARA: Goff comes to Detroit with a winning record on his resume

Jared Goff has been in town for the last week or so to familiarize himself with what will be his new home and workplace as the starting quarterback for the Detroit Lions.

Goff has learned a little bit about Detroit's sports geography and the psyche of its fans in his move from California to the Midwest..

Goff is getting comfortable with his new surroundings, and how he fits in with the Lions after five seasons with the Los Angeles Rams.

"I went downtown for dinner twice this week," Goff said at his introductory press conference via Zoom Friday afternoon. "I didn't know much about Detroit. The stadiums are all in the same block. Everything is real close.

"It is a sports town, and being able to play in a sports town is special -- something I'm really excited about.

"I know football is king here, and I plan on making them a winner."

Goff became a Lion in one of the franchise's biggest trades in a half century.

The Lions and Rams agreed on a trade Jan. 30 that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams in exchange for Goff, the Rams' third-round pick in this year's draft, and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023.

Under NFL rules, the trade could not be official until the start of the new league year this week.

Most analysts feel that the Rams got the better quarterback in Stafford, who fits their short-term goal of getting back to the Super Bowl, while the Lions got the better deal. The Lions can use the draft picks to build a team that has finished in last place in the NFC North the last three years.

Whatever his detractors might say, Goff comes to the Lions with a winning record on his resume.

He went 0-7 as a rookie in 2016 after being drafted first overall out of Cal. After that, he had won-loss records of 11-4, 13-3, 9-7 and 9-6 for the next four regular seasons.

The Rams made the playoffs in three of the seasons, and the 2018 team made it to the Super Bowl, losing to the New England Patriots.

Goff was asked about the importance of having a winning record on his resume.

"It takes the right pieces to win, but you can turn it around in one season," Goff said. "I know it won't happen in a week. It won't happen in a month.

"But it can happen very quickly if you get the right people and do it the right way.

"Football is obviously a team sport. There are a lot more people involved than just the quarterback. From my standpoint, it's knowing how to win, knowing what it takes."

Goff has also experienced losing in a big way, both in college and the NFL.

As a first-year starter at Cal, the Bears went 1-11. As a rookie with the Rams in 2016, he started the last seven games and lost all seven.

Goff feels that he has benefitted from both experiences.

"That kind of tests who you are as a man," he said. "Looking back on those times, I'm so happy I went through them. I learned a lot about myself. I was able to grow from that and draw on that as time went on.

"I still think back to that 1-11 year and how it felt. My rookie year, losing all seven games played in, and how that felt and what it took to get out of that.

"I learned from those games. It's so important through a career to kind of hit rock bottom at times and be able to climb back up."

Head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes expressed no concerns about Goff's ability to win games.

Campbell talked about the "grit" he looks for in players at all positions.

"There are three things I think about with Jared Goff," Campbell said. "He's tough. He's durable. And most important, he's a winner. He has won in this league. He knows how to win.

"All we need for him is come in and play quarterback. You don't have to be a savior here. Just be a quarterback.

"His job is to make the right decisions. Put the ball in the receivers' (hands), give them a chance to make a play.

"Our receivers' job is to get open and separate. When the ball hits your hands, you had better find a way to come down with it. That's their job."

View photos of Lions QB Jared Goff's introductory media availability at Allen Park.

Goff gave the Rams' receivers a chance to do their job well enough for him to make the Pro Bowl in 2017 and 2018, with seasons of 28 and 32 TD passes respectively. He tailed off to 22 and 20 TD passes the last two seasons and apparently fell out of favor with Rams head coach Sean McVay.

Goff admitted that he might have a chip on his shoulder from being traded but said his disappointment was brief.

"I was disappointed for two minutes," he said. "Then I spoke to these guys on the phone. it was a breath of fresh air. This is where I'm supposed to be. This is how it's supposed to go down.

"In this league, everything changes, especially the quarterback position."

Goff said he called around to other players to get their take on what it was like to be in Detroit. That included Stafford.

The only other reference to Stafford was a question about toughness, a quality Stafford is renowned for.

Goff referenced Detroit's image in his answer.

"I think I'm similarly tough," Goff said. "I know he's a very tough guy. I played through a broken thumb two months ago. I think I have some toughness -- some grit and perseverance.

"Some of that stuff the city (Detroit) is made of. I'm still learning. A lot of the people in this city work blue-collar jobs. They go to work Monday through Friday, Monday through Saturday.

"Sunday is their day to watch the Lions play. I plan to make that a good day for them."

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