Jared Goff

Lions’ Goff Doubtful For Game Against Seahawks

Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell told reporters yesterday that quarterback Jared Goff is doubtful to play this Sunday in Seattle. A lingering knee injury is looking more and more likely to hold Goff out of his second straight game.

It looks like Campbell is going to be cautious in handling Goff’s return to avoid further harm to the quarterback. With the end of the season approaching, and the Lions long disqualified from postseason contention, we may have already seen Goff’s season finale in Detroit’s Week 15 upset of the Cardinals.

In his first season with the Lions, Goff was able to reproduce much of the statistical output from his lesser years in LA, but without the team success. Goff has averaged 231.3 passing yards per game, slightly under his 2017 season average of 253.6 yards per game. He threw 17 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, displaying the same discipline and accuracy he showed as a Ram. It seems the drastic drop of talent around him made for a difficult transition for the sixth-year veteran in terms of winning football games.

In his absence, Tim Boyle is expected to make his second-straight start and his third start of the 2021 NFL season. In his previous two starts, Boyle was able to keep the Lions largely competitive in a three-point loss to the Browns and a four-point loss to the Falcons. Boyle has relied on short and easy completions to move the offense. He’s completed an impressive 39 of 57 pass attempts (68%), but has only totaled 264 passing yards in two games. He’s also struggled to keep possession, throwing 3 picks to only 1 touchdown.

Boyle is expected to face off against a Seahawks’ defense that ranks last in the NFC in passing yards allowed, so it appears something has to bend. Either Seattle will provide a stout passing defensive performance uncharacteristic of this year or Boyle will have a career day for his statistical production.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/20/21

A long list of players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. We listed the players who landed on the list today, as well as those who were activated off the list:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: DE John Franklin-Myers, DB Sharrod Neasman

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Lions QB Jared Goff Lands On Reserve/COVID-19 List

After a shocking win over the Cardinals yesterday, the Lions will be looking to carry that momentum into next weekend’s game against the Falcons. Unfortunately, Detroit might have to go for their second-straight win without their starting QB. The Lions announced today that they’ve placed quarterback Jared Goff on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

While things certainly haven’t gone right in Detroit this season, the team’s struggles aren’t entirely Goff’s fault. The 27-year-old has completed 67 percent of his passes this year for 3,007 yards, 17 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He’s also been victim to a career-high 34 sacks for the 2-11-1 Lions.

Goff was forced to miss Week 11 against the Browns, and backup Tim Boyle ended up throwing for only 77 yards and two interceptions in the loss. If Goff isn’t able to play this weekend, there’s a chance Boyle gets another start for Detroit.

The Lions made a handful of additional moves today. Besides Goff, offensive tackle Matt Nelson was also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, while cornerback Mark Gilbert and running back Jamaal Williams were activated from the list. The team placed linebacker Alex Anzalone on IR, and they signed running back Craig Reynolds to the active roster following a breakout game yesterday.

NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Darnold, Cowboys

Imagine a loaded Buccaneers offense with…Jonathan Taylor at running back. It could have been a possibility, as the Buccaneers had their eye on the Wisconsin product during the 2020 draft, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Bucs were armed with the No. 14 heading into that draft, and Taylor was on the “short list” of players the organization was considering with that selection. The team ended up with their preferred prospect, offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, and they traded up to No. 13 to make sure they got the lineman. However, if Wirfs was off the board at that point in the draft, then Tampa Bay likely would have pivoted to Taylor, who didn’t hear his name come off the board until midway through the second round.

“I loved him,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said recently (via Schefter). “He could do it all, and it was just a matter of time — playing behind that offensive line — that he was going to be the force that he is.”

Taylor has obviously had a standout season with the Colts, leading the league with 1,348 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns (naturally, he’s also leading the NFL with 1,684 yards from scrimmage and 18 total scores). Of course, things have worked out fine for the Buccaneers. Wirfs has started all 28 of his career games, while the duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones were more than capable during Tampa Bay’s 2020 Super Bowl run.

Some more notes out of the NFC…

  • Sam Darnold seems to be out of the picture in Carolina, but the Panthers still owe the quarterback $18.8MM in guaranteed money in 2022. The team already paid Denver $7MM to inherit Teddy Bridgewater, leaving the organization with $17MM in dead cap. As a result, Joseph Person of The Athletic believes Darnold will stick around as a high-priced backup vs. being involved in a salary dump. Person specifically cites a 2017 trade where the Texans attached a second-round pick to Brock Osweiler to dump his salary on Cleveland; league sources tell the reporter that “an Osweiler-type trade involving Darnold is unlikely.”
  • Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards is a candidate for the head coaching job at his alma mater, Duke University, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Edwards was a four-year player for Duke, and he served as an assistant on the Duke staff way back in 1996. He’s had a long coaching career since that time, including a recent six-year stint as the Vikings defensive coordinator. Edwards has been a senior defensive assistant with the Cowboys since 2020. Duke parted ways with David Cutcliffe last month.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com recently tweeted the 10 highest salary cap hits for 2022, and the top three spots all belong to the NFC. Falcons QB Matt Ryan and his $48.7MM cap hit leads the way, following by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers at $46.1MM and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins at $45MM. Other NFC players on the list include Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (sixth, $37MM), Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (ninth, $34.5MM), and Lions QB Jared Goff (10th, $31.2MM).

Tim Boyle To Start At QB For Lions; Latest On Coaching Staff

Lions QB Jared Goff is dealing with an oblique injury, so as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports, Tim Boyle will be Detroit’s starting signal-caller in the club’s matchup against the Browns this afternoon. It will be the first start of the 27-year-old’s career.

Boyle served as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup in Green Bay over the past several seasons, and though he had attempted just four career passes, the Lions inked him to a one-year, $2.5MM deal in March after he was non-tendered by the Packers (who were making room for Jordan Love). Unfortunately, Boyle’s strong training camp was marred by a thumb injury, and he was forced to start the 2021 campaign on IR as a result. He was designated to return earlier this month.

In the meantime, David Blough has been operating as Goff’s clipboard holder, and he will stay in his QB2 role today. Schefter says that if Boyle should struggle — he only recently returned to practice, so he is not as sharp as he could be — then Blough could be sent into the game. Because the Lions also play their traditional Thanksgiving contest in just a few days, either Boyle or Blough will likely be in line to start on Turkey Day as well.

It has been another difficult year for the Lions, who managed a tie with the Mason Rudolph-led Steelers last week to improve to 0-8-1. Detroit hoped that Goff, acquired in this offseason’s blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade, would be able to recapture the Pro Bowl form he displayed in the 2017-18 seasons, but he has largely struggled. Though O-line issues and a dearth of receiver talent are at least partially to blame, Goff’s 84.0 QB rating would represent his lowest mark since his seven-game rookie output. As such, Schefter confirms that the Lions’ quarterback situation for the rest of this season and beyond is unsettled.

The team has no realistic way of getting out of Goff’s contract until after the 2022 season, so he will almost certainly be back next year. But it does not sound like he is guaranteed to get his starting job back even when he is fully recovered, and the Lions will likely be in a position to draft one of 2022’s top collegiate passers in the spring. Starting today, Boyle will try to make his case to be involved in the conversation.

Of course, Boyle will have head coach Dan Campbell calling his offensive plays. Campbell took over play-calling duties from OC Anthony Lynn for the Pittsburgh game, and that arrangement will presumably hold through the end of the year. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Campbell — who still has the full respect of his locker room — is not planning to make any in-season coaching changes, but there will probably be some sort of shakeup to the staff in the offseason.

Jared Goff’s Job Not In Jeopardy

The Lions have yet to win their first game of the season, and QB Jared Goff has struggled in the last two contests, including a blowout loss at the hands of the Bengals last week. Rookie head coach Dan Campbell did not mince words in his post-game presser, saying that Goff “needs to step up more than he has.”

Still, Goff is in no immediate danger of being benched, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. After all, backup signal-caller David Blough is clearly not the long-term solution at quarterback, and Goff might still be, so there have been no conversations about pulling Goff from the starting lineup.

The fact that the rebuilding Lions have dealt with significant O-line injuries and are lacking talent at the wide receiver position should also buy Goff a little bit of slack. Plus, the club has at least been competitive in several games this season, and arguably should have defeated Baltimore in Week 3 and Minnesota in Week 5.

There is also Goff’s contract to consider. New GM Brad Holmes said his decision to take on Goff’s mega-deal in this offseason’s blockbuster trade with the Rams was not solely motivated by his ability to squeeze more draft picks out of Los Angeles, and that he believes Goff can recapture the Pro Bowl form he displayed in the 2017-18 seasons. Still, Goff is guaranteed $26.15MM next year, and the Lions cannot realistically get out of his deal before the end of the 2022 campaign, so he will be given every chance to earn his keep.

Through six games in 2021, Goff has completed 66.8% of his passes for seven TDs and four picks. His 86.9 QB rating — which has been dragged down by his last two outings — positions him in the bottom third of the league, and Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics consider him the 26th-best passer out of 33 qualified players.

Lions GM: Jared Goff Not Bridge QB

While the Panthers and Broncos received more attention for passing on Justin Fields and Mac Jones with top-10 picks, the Lions also bypassed the chance to pair a first-round quarterback with a new regime. These QBs did not appear to be on Detroit’s radar.

The Lions took Penei Sewell at No. 7 and are expected to slot him their first-string right tackle, where he will protect Jared Goff. The Lions required two first-round picks and a 2021 third from the Rams to take on Goff’s contract, but their top decision-maker has concerned himself with other positions on the team’s roster. Goff has the potential to start for many years in Detroit, per GM Brad Holmes.

I never viewed him as a bridge option,” Holmes said, via Mike O’Hara of DetroitLions.com. “He’s been a winning quarterback. I think his resume speaks for itself.”

Goff is still just 26, has two Pro Bowls on his resume and started in Super Bowl LIII. However, the former No. 1 overall pick finished 22nd and 23rd in Total QBR in 2019 and ’20, respectively, and his play down the stretch last season prompted Sean McVay to favor former Alliance of American Football QB John Wolford and then greenlight a splashy trade for Matthew Stafford.

The Lions also lack the proven weapons Goff enjoyed as a Ram, having signed Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams. The latter missed all of last season due to injury, and the Lions did not draft a receiver in the first three rounds. Goff will also transition from McVay to Lions OC Anthony Lynn, who has not called plays in a few years. Detroit should have an upper-echelon offensive line set to block for its new passer, however, which could help him bounce back.

Holmes and Dan Campbell have started a rebuild, and the team holds two first-round picks in 2022 and ’23. Despite Holmes having played a key role in the Rams acquiring Goff via 2016 trade-up, when Holmes worked as the team’s college scouting director, Goff struggling in 2021 will likely put the Lions on the radar for the top QBs in the 2022 draft. But Goff steering this ship for two seasons should also be considered an option; moving his contract will not create any notable cap savings until 2023. Goff is signed through 2024, carrying $30MM-plus cap numbers in each of those years.

Snead: Rams Eyeing 5-8 Years With Stafford

Matthew Stafford‘s contract runs through the 2022 season. The Rams managed to navigate the primary free agency period without reducing their new quarterback’s cap number, but they are interested in extending Stafford.

Les Snead provided a timeline for the team’s future with Stafford. Snead envisions the 2009 No. 1 overall pick playing for the Rams well beyond his current contract, which would make sense given the cost to acquire him — multiple future first-rounders and change. The 2021 season will be Stafford’s age-33 campaign.

I don’t think we did it thinking two years,” Snead said of the trade during an appearance on The Athletic’s 11 Personnel podcast (via Rams Wire). “Based on his age, you can legitimately think five to seven, eight years if you look at what Drew (Brees) has done. I don’t know if we’re going to get into Tom Brady, right? Too many things going. But with quarterbacks of his pedigree, a lot of those guys have played into their late 30s, for sure. So that was definitely the vision with Matt.”

The Rams do not have modern experience deploying quarterbacks with Stafford’s experience. Under Snead, the team’s two primary passers — Sam Bradford and Jared Goff — did not last until age 28 with the team. Kurt Warner was out of St. Louis at 32, before his seventh NFL season. Stafford turned 33 earlier this year and has battled injuries in recent years. He missed eight games because of a back malady in 2019 — his first absences since 2011 — and detailed a few issues that bothered him last year. Stafford underwent thumb surgery recently.

Stafford’s recent injuries notwithstanding, the Rams are committed to the 12-year Lions starter. While Goff and Sean McVay‘s relationship progressively deteriorated last year, Snead insists the Rams did not want to jettison the former No. 1 overall pick for the sake of doing so. Stafford being available changed the equation.

To do a move of that magnitude involving quarterbacks, specifically involving Jared, there definitely needed to be a Matthew Stafford on the other end,” Snead said. “We were not going to be stronger by moving Jared for a draft pick, per se. That wasn’t the case, and I think it did take someone of Matt Stafford’s pedigree, ability, experience, all those things, skill set to make that move.”

QB Notes: Goff, Rams, Lions, Fields, Hawks

Had John Wolford made it through the Rams‘ wild-card win over the Seahawks healthy, Sean McVay was prepared to start him over Jared Goff against the Packers (assuming the Rams would have won in Round 1 with their backup), Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com notes. Wolford suffered a first-quarter neck injury that brought Goff back into action. McVay decided shortly after the Rams’ Week 17 game that Wolford would start over Goff in Seattle, despite not yet gauging Goff’s progress after thumb surgery. Considering the disparity between Goff and Wolford’s contracts and the nature of their arrivals — the former a No. 1 overall pick and the latter a UDFA who played in the Alliance of American Football — the gap between them narrowing to this degree is striking.

McVay and Goff’s relationship deteriorated over the course of the 2020 season, and the Los Angeles HC openly pondered if the Rams could return to a Super Bowl with Goff at the controls, Thiry adds. While Matthew Stafford will provide the Rams with a considerable upgrade in arm strength, Thiry notes McVay’s issues with Goff did not stem from his arm talent. But Goff’s inconsistency resulted in him dropping from 10th in QBR in 2018 to 22nd in ’19 and 23rd last season. The former No. 1 overall pick will receive a fresh start in Detroit.

Here is the latest from the quarterback world:

  • A month away from the draft, teams are not in agreement on Justin Fields‘ stock, according to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt. The Ohio State passer may well be a top-five pick, and Brandt has him ranked seventh in this class. But some teams have placed the two-year Buckeyes starter well below that level, the Hall of Fame scout adds (Twitter links). In Brandt’s view, the 49ers likely did not trade up to No. 3 overall to select Fields. Trey Lance and Mac Jones loom as the other high-end quarterback prospects expected to be available for the 49ers.
  • The 2021 third-round draft choice the Rams are sending the Lions in the Goff-Stafford trade landed at No. 101 overall, according to the NFL transaction wire. The Rams will retain their original third-round pick (88th overall) and also still hold the No. 103 pick, obtained from the league after the Lions hired former Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes as GM.
  • A man has accused Seahawks quarterback Alex McGough of punching him in the face on St. Patrick’s Day, TMZ reports. McGough, 25, allegedly punched Anthony Albino at a bar last week in a dispute related to McGough’s girlfriend. Albino intends to press charges, according to TMZ. The Seahawks drafted McGough in the 2018 seventh round, but he has bounced around the league. Seattle reacquired McGough in December of last year.

Lions GM Discusses QB Position, Draft

Following the Jared Goff/Matthew Stafford trade, the Lions quarterback depth chart is already going to look a whole lot different in 2021. Based on some recent comments from general manager Brad Holmes, it might not just be the top of the depth chart that’ll see changes. During an appearance on the Huddle and Flow podcast, the executive noted that the team will definitely consider drafting a quarterback, even with the seventh-overall pick.

“I don’t think when you’re picking this high that you can be ‘out’ on any position,” Holmes said. “But obviously, quarterback is such an important position and I just think it’s good drafting business, always, to be very, very thorough on that quarterback class – regardless of what your situation is. When I was with the Rams, I always said, regardless of what you have at quarterback [you have to be thorough], and especially now, it’s the same approach. It is a good crop coming out this year, but it’s definitely not a position that will be ignored by us by any means.”

This isn’t a massive surprise. After all, Goff has underwhelmed over the past two seasons, and the quarterback obviously wasn’t the main asset acquired in the Stafford deal (that honor belongs to the pair of future first-rounders). However, the team still has at least two (pricey) years of Goff, so they can take a patient approach at the position knowing Goff will probably be under center for at least 2021.

We leaned earlier this week that even the Lions’ backup quarterbacks aren’t safe. The front office has reportedly had trade discussions with teams about backup Chase Daniel.