Lions GM Brad Holmes 'very, very proud' of Jared Goff, rejects 'lazy' bridge quarterback narrative

Roughly two and a half years after he was shipped off to what was supposed to be a wasteland in Detroit, Jared Goff is playing the best football of his career.

The Lions are 4-1, and Goff has played a key part in Detroit’s strong start. Since Week 9 of 2022, Detroit has gone 12-3 with Goff as its starter, with the quarterback posting a fantastic 26-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He ranks in the top 10 in completion percentage, passing yards and passing touchdowns through five weeks in 2023.

If you hopped into a time machine, traveled back to spring of 2021 and told anyone this, they’d laugh in your face — for a long time. That’s how far Goff has come with the Lions, morphing from expected bridge quarterback to possible long-term answer under center.

“Very, very proud of Jared,” Lions general manager Brad Holmes said Wednesday on The Insiders on NFL+. “Again, like you said, I never thought of him of just a bridge or stop-gap or whatever just because I was all around the success he had early in his career in L.A. (with the Rams). It seems like when he got here (Detroit) when the trade was made that all that success was forgotten about. It was just this narrative that he was just a bridge. I always thought that was a lazy narrative… Just because of, I guess, the narrative of how the trade went down and all of that.

“In ’21, he was in a very difficult situation. We didn’t have a lot of talent around him, we didn’t have much money to spend in free agency, we had a lot of injuries. I mean we had to make a midseason OC (offensive coordinator) change. It was a lot. So, then everybody just hogged on to the narrative of the trade. Then what he had to go through in ’21. It was like ‘he can’t be the quarterback’ but no, we just kept our belief in him, and I think (coach) Dan (Campbell) and (OC) Ben (Johnson) have done an outstanding job of giving him ownership. His confidence is sky high. He’s playing at a high level right now.”

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Detroit’s shift from also-ran to spunky contender began in 2022, when the Lions went 8-2 in their final 10 games and narrowly missed the playoffs. Some expected 2022 to prove to be a fluke, but through five weeks in 2023, the Lions have done everything possible to prove they’re for real, starting with their quarterback.

Goff’s greatest strength is not pulling off superhuman feats, but playing clean football within Johnson’s system. It also helps that Holmes has supplied Goff with upgrades at the skill positions around him, adding the likes of David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta in 2023 alone.

“Obviously, we added stuff around him, but he’s in a really good place now,” Holmes said. “So, hopefully he can keep this going but even if he has some lows, I’m not worried about Jared because one of the more underrated components of him that I think is his mental toughness. He’s shown that, he’s displayed that and he’s doing a great job for us.”

At this rate, the Lions won’t need to be in the quarterback market anytime soon. They just might be considering an extension before his contract expires in 2024.

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