Lions' Jared Goff making early impression with 'outstanding' throws, command of offense
Allen Park — Yeah, it's June. The pads haven't come on and there's no threat of a pass rush. Still, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell can't help but gush about Jared Goff and the quarterback's performance during these early offseason practices.
“Look, I don’t want to get too far on this right now, but I’ll tell you what. Yesterday, it was impressive," Campbell said ahead of Thursday's practice. "He made some throws yesterday that were, my gosh, they were outstanding — just pinpoint, accurate throws. He was good on his reads. I felt like he had one bad throw yesterday, and it was really more he was late on the throw.
"I want to say he made about five throws that were just, ‘Wow. OK, that’s really good. Really good.' Just pinpoint, back shoulder, guy running up on a wheel and it’s back shoulder right on the ear, or up the seam, or an out route to (T.J.) Hockenson, threw it right by the defender where only he could get it."
What Campbell was seeing on the practice field Wednesday carried over to Thursday's session, with media in attendance to witness it firsthand. On Goff's first throw of 7-on-7s, the most competitive team segment of the practice, he laced an in-stride dart down the left sideline to receiver Breshad Perriman.
That was the first of several consecutive completions, working the ball to different depths, to his receivers, tight ends and running backs. In all, Goff exhibited excellent command of the limited portions of Detroit's new offensive scheme that have been installed.
It's a continuation of the chemistry Goff has efforted to build with his new teammates, via workouts near his California home. And now, with the coaching staff present, they're developing an early understanding of what is working for the offense.
"You get timing with your receivers (in) 7-on-7," Campbell said. "The other thing you get is you do get the chemistry. You get timing, you get chemistry. Who can I rely on? Who can do this job for me? What can I ask him to do? How do I want him to run it inside the system that we’re trying to build here?
"And just for us as coaches, who are the guys we can say, ‘Man, when it comes down to it and we need one, who are the receivers, tight ends, backs we can count on? We’ve got to find a way to get them the ball because we can trust them.’"
Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn already had a pretty good understanding about Goff's capabilities ahead of working together. As the former coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, Lynn's teams held a couple sets of joint practices with Goff's former team, the Los Angeles Rams.
Now Lynn has the opportunity to build a scheme around what he perceives as the quarterback's strengths, something which will likely look much different than what the Rams were running with Goff under center.
"He's learning the system, he's picking it up pretty fast, and boy, his arm strength is really good," Lynn said. "He's throwing some really accurate balls. I thought he had his best practice yesterday and hopefully he continues to get better."
A Pro Bowler in both 2017 and 2018, Goff hasn't been nearly as effective the past two seasons, particularly with his ball security, throwing 29 interceptions in 31 games during the stretch. That led to the Rams trading him to Detroit, along with a trio of draft picks, in exchange for longtime Lions starter Matthew Stafford.
And even though it's far to early to pass judgement, so far, so good for the Lions.
"He’s got a lot of confidence right now and I think he’s getting a good grasp of the offense," Campbell said. "It was impressive. It really was. We’re pretty happy right now."