Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell gave a pretty strong endorsement of his quarterback, Jared Goff, while keeping the door ajar to someone else becoming the franchise QB of the future.
Speaking with NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero at the Annual League Meeting on Monday, Campbell said he loves what Goff brings to the Lions now that they're considered contenders.
"Listen, feel really good about it. Goff? Love Goff. Goff's our guy, man," Campbell said when asked about the Lions' QB situation. "I think he's proven over the last two years that, man, he's made for us. He's had to endure a lot, just like all of us have. I thought he played his best football last year, and I think he's gonna come out and play some of the best this year. Feel good about it.
"So I love our quarterback position right now."
The Lions are in a fascinating position now, winners of eight of their final 10 games last season. Although they came up a game short of making the playoffs, this is a team that appears as well-built as Detroit has seen in some time. It also doesn't hurt that Aaron Rodgers might soon be leaving the division, or that the Lions have two first-round picks and four selections in the top 55 picks overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.
But there has been speculation that the Lions might entertain the idea of using one of those high picks on a quarterback or perhaps use them to enter the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes. The 29-year-old Goff threw for 4,438 yards, 29 TDs and only seven INTs last season but is only under contract through 2024.
Could the Lions be a surprise QB team in Round 1? Or do the Lions view Goff as the future as well as the present?
"When you've got a quarterback, you hold onto those guys, man," Campbell told Pelissero. "If you really believe they can play, then those are your guys.
"I don't know, I don't want to get into the money. … I just know this: When you find a guy that you really believe in that can help you win, then I think you do what it takes to make sure that's your guy."
The Lions have found themselves with a lack of QB depth the past few years, and there's no true developmental quarterback on the roster, so drafting one this year feels very possible. But the team did just re-sign backup Nate Sudfeld.
But if the Lions win in 2023, it's likely going to be on the shoulders of Goff. Campbell knows that the pressure on them to be successful this coming season is higher than it's ever been since his arrival, even as the coach tried to temper out-of-control expectations from the outside.
"I think we should feel that way. Our expectations should go up," Campbell told Pelissero. "The standards have always been there -- we always have the standards, that's what everything has been built off of for three years now -- but our expectations should go up. They should realize, 'Hey, man, we are good enough. We proved what we could do last year, and we're gonna be a better team this year.'
"Now, does that mean you're gonna win 13 games? No, it doesn't necessarily mean that. But all it means is, man, do whatever it takes to win your division. That's where it starts. Are we capable? Yeah, I think we'll be capable. Now it's a long time between now and then. But yeah, I think everything was working to this point to where, man, you hit Year 3, and now we're ready to go dance a bit. I love where we're at right now."