Jared Goff, Lions teammates reflect on QB's revival

Jared Goff is ready to lead a 'different' Lions team (2:30)

Jared Goff sits down with Jeff Darlington to discuss how he adjusted after his trade to the Lions and how he hopes to turn the organization around. (2:30)

DETROIT -- The NFL quarterback with the best touchdown to interception ratio in 2022 didn't reside in Kansas City. He wasn't wearing tiger stripes, either.

It was the Detroit Lions' Jared Goff.

Goff was a key factor in the Lions' turnaround last season, especially down the stretch. He threw for 17 touchdowns to one interception during his final 10 games -- better than Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Trevor Lawrence over that span -- while leading the Lions to an 8-2 record.

Now, entering Year 3 in Detroit, his coaches and teammates are backing the former No. 1 overall pick to continue his career renaissance.

"Honestly, I feel like it's very similar to last year and I mean that in a good way," Lions coach Dan Campbell said. "I mean, I feel the consistency, I feel the confidence. I think what I was most encouraged with was man, I wanted to see once again, the urgency, the intensity."

Throughout training camp, Goff's raised level of play has been on display, most notably during joint practice sessions with the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars. He made throws and plays that reassured the Lions that the 28-year-old is set for another big season.

"If there's anything noticeable on the field, it's the confidence," Lions Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow said of Goff.

"He's always been on fire, it's just a matter of making it happen consistently and he's been doing it," Lions guard Jonah Jackson added.

GOFF IS LOOKING to top a 2022 campaign in which he had the league's fifth-best total QBR (61.1). He threw for 4,438 yards, 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions while also setting a franchise mark for the most consecutive passes without an interception (324).

This offseason, Goff, who turns 29 in October, worked on improving throws from awkward arm and wrist angles, specifically in checkdown situations. He worked on speeding up his throws when plays break down and put more emphasis on completing more explosive plays.

"Can I do it again? I'd like to do better. I think that's the goal is how can I get better," Goff, who's entering his eighth season, told ESPN. "I had a decent year last year, but there's a lot of things that I feel like I could've done a lot better to improve on, and I've worked on them this offseason and it starts over. You wish you could continue it, but you can't. It starts back at 0-0 and all my season starts over, and I've got to continue to make those plays, work hard and make sure we're on the same page."

Goff, who's under contract until 2024, also has a chance to secure a long-term future as the franchise's starting quarterback. But for now, he's trying to keep an offense that finished top five in points, effective points added, net yards per attempt, yards per play and yards per game on track as the Lions look to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016.

"He's putting it all together," Lions receiver Josh Reynolds said. "This offense is for him and [Lions offensive coordinator] Ben [Johnson] is putting together a plan that JG's comfortable with and that he can control. Goff's on his way. It's another big year for him."

GOFF ARRIVED AT the Allen Park facility for the first time in March 2021.

Following the trade that sent him from the Los Angeles Rams to Detroit for longtime Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, Goff initially settled in Birmingham, Michigan. It was the former Cal quarterback's first time living outside of his native California.

He said the cold weather immediately slapped him in the face as he got off the plane in Michigan, but he was warmed by the shot at redemption Detroit offered after a disappointing end in L.A.

"I just put my head down and went to work," Goff said. "I knew it wouldn't be easy, I knew we had some things we had to clean up here, being the first year of a new staff which is never easy, but I was excited for the challenge. I saw it as an incredible opportunity. How lucky I am to be at the ground level of something that could be so big? ... That's how I approached it every day."

Things got off to a rocky start. The Lions finished 3-13-1 in his first season, but improved to 9-8 in 2022. And now, with a roster suited to match his strengths, optimism for the team is at an all-time high and Goff's play is a big reason why.

Goff says he appreciates how far he has come and the respect the organization has shown him.

"It means a lot that they feel that way, but I feel like it means even more because I had to earn it," Goff said. "You don't just get that. You have to work hard, you have to earn it, you have to do the right things consistently and I have equal respect for all my teammates and all those guys upstairs, but it does feel good to hear that."

Goff says his experience in Detroit has made him a lot tougher -- mentally and physically -- and his confidence is "high as it's ever been."

"I want to get better. Improve. Take my game to another level," Goff said. "In our offense, I'm so fortunate to have the coaches we have and the players we have, but how can I lift everybody up even more and be the guy that is making everybody around me better. I want to just continue to add to my game and enter this prime of my career, running downhill and really catching some momentum."

Lions receiver Kalif Raymond said: "Over the past few years, you can tell he's worked on so much on the mental part of the game, studying and all the extra little stuff. So what you're seeing now is he has a very large foundation of how much extra work he's put in. And it's helping him in the long run."

ENTERING HIS FIRST NFL training camp, Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta didn't have to guess what his role would be in the high-powered Lions offense. He heard it straight from Goff.

Goff, who teammates and coaches say has taken on more of a leadership role this season, explained in detail what he was looking for from the second-round pick out of Iowa and how he would fit into the system.

"He brings a lot of simplicity and he's very calm all the time," LaPorta said of Goff. "So, it's been great for me to just learn from him and pick his brain."

Goff also held private throwing sessions in Southern California this summer with receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams and a handful of other Lions teammates.

St. Brown says he's been approached often this offseason by people asking what Goff is doing better from an individual standpoint, but St. Brown said he just wants Goff to stay consistent. That'll be more than enough for the Lions this season.

"If he does what he did last year and if he keeps doing that this year, people can't say anything," St. Brown said of Goff. "They have to say he's one of the top quarterbacks."