Most prognostications suggest the Detroit Lions will struggle in 2021. With a full-on rebuild behind new GM Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell, Detroit is staring at a fourth-straight losing season and could be vying for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
There are question marks across a roster that Holmes and Campbell stripped after the last administration failed miserably. Given the six-year contract given to Campbell -- longer than most for a first-time coach -- Lions ownership is aware that it won't be a quick fix.
Just don't ask starting quarterback Jared Goff about the low expectations.
"(What people think) externally, couldn't care less," Goff said Monday, via Kyle Meinke of MLive. "And honestly, don't really know what it would be. Hopefully, if there is something to surprise, we will do that. But, you know, every day is a new day and we're just trying to win."
Frankly, Goff is part of those low expectations after his former team in L.A. paid an extra first-rounder just to shed his contract. The former No. 1 overall pick has been a part of a winning club each of his past four seasons, but his struggles the past two years have caused him to lose some shine. Still, his optimism is understandable. With the question marks surrounding him on offense, where the receiver corps is the worst in the NFL, it's unclear that Goff can raise the level of play of those around him enough to help limp the Lions to many victories.
However, professional athletes never say die. They can't. They shouldn't. If a player walks onto the field admitting that there is no chance to win, losses become a certainty. For players who have made it to the pinnacle of the sport, only positive vibes are possible.
Goff noted that each year teams go from worst to first in their division, so why not Detroit?
"Of course, it's a new regime, a new staff, (the Lions) weren't very good last year," he said. "I mean, it's a whole new thing, and I understand it. But just like every other team in this league, there are expectations.
"I don't know what the stat is, but every year there's new teams in the playoffs. Every year there's teams in the playoffs last year that aren't. Why not us? Why can't we be the one that wasn't in last year that is this year? It starts one week at a time, but internally, our expectations are as high as anyone else."
Playing for a franchise that finished last in the NFC North each of the past three seasons under Matt Patricia, it won't be easy for the Lions to dig themselves past Green Bay, Minnesota, and Chicago to win the division. Sure, as Goff noted, teams surprise every year. Still, it would be truly stunning if the Lions were that team in 2021, given the state of the rebuild with the new brass.