Lions QB Jared Goff on playing former team: 'Reality is that we need to win'

Jared Goff is starting to feel the heat for some lackluster play.

His Detroit Lions are the last winless team in the NFL.

What better time for a Los Angeles homecoming.

Goff and the Lions will face the quarterback's old squad, the Los Angeles Rams, and the QB he was swapped for, Matthew Stafford, on Sunday and the signal-caller admitted there's some motivation Wednesday, but above all else is the reality that the 0-6 Lions need to get into the win column.

"Excitement. Excitement," Goff told reporters Wednesday, via team transcript, when asked what emotions he was feeling leading into the game. "It's another game. Again, I think the easy answer and the reality is that we need to win and regardless of who we're playing this week, regardless of my history or [Michael Brockers] Brock's history, or anyone that would have with this team and with the Rams, it's more of the reality is that we need to win and we can't focus on that really."

The usually reserved Goff was on target, hitting the cliches, offering up that the Rams reunion was just "any other game," while also admitting that he does have a "chip on his shoulder."

Perhaps most surprising is that Goff is forecasting fun in taking in SoFi Stadium for the first time with fans and facing his former teammates.

"It'll be fun. I obviously never got to see it with fans, so it will be cool to see that and just be there," Goff said of playing in front of the Southern California fans. "To sum it up, I think it would be selfish of me to let any emotion get to me or to think of it that way. Of course, pregame you're going to see your friends and your old teammates, old coaches, old staff members, and that will be good to see them. But, when that whistle blows, it's the same as any other game. The emotions will be out the window by then. They're really out the window by now, I guess. It would be selfish of me to have any of that going into this game."

While Goff is doing his best to avoid the selfish route, Detroit head coach Dan Campbell has made it known he needs more from Goff individually for the winless Lions to snap their NFL-long 10-game losing streak. Goff is entering Sunday's ballyhooed showdown coming off back-to-back games in which he's tallied sub-70 passer ratings. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since Week 4 and the Lions haven't scored more than 20 points since Week 1. It's added up to Detroit being the 28th-ranked scoring offense.

Facing old friends and new foes like Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey isn't going to make an offensive turnaround all that easy.

"They're really good. I mean, that's the No. 1 thing I know about practicing against those guys, they're really good," Goff said. "I think I never truly understood how to game plan against Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey until you have to, right? I never had to play against those guys previously. They have some good players over there and they do some good things and I know as well as anyone, they're well-coached and do a great job. So, it will be a challenge."

While the emotions of Goff and Stafford playing their former squads makes this an intriguing matchup and the always alluring "revenge game," there are myriad numbers that add to the enticing nature of the game.

Goff and Stafford are each former No. 1 overall picks playing against the teams that drafted them. They will be the ninth and 10th QBs in the common draft era taken first overall to start for the team that selected them and go on to start against their draft team, per NFL Research.

The Rams are off to a 5-1 start with Stafford, who hasn't been part of such a successful first six games since 2011 with the Lions.

Goff, meanwhile, remains winless without Sean McVay as his head coach. Goff was 0-7 as a rookie under Jeff Fisher and is now 0-6 with Campbell. He was 42-20 playing for McVay.

"That's I guess, a stat. No, I don't put any stock in it," Goff said. "I think Sean's a tremendous coach. Like I said, I've got all the respect in the world for him, what he does on the field, the way he's coached since I was there and think what they do is tremendous."

Though Goff doesn't put any stock into the McVay stat, he did appreciate his former coach's sentiments earlier in the week. McVay said he wished the Goff-Stafford trade in the offseason had been handled better and that he had communicated more with Goff.

"I appreciate it. It takes a man to say something like that, so yeah, I appreciate it," Goff said. "It still happened the way it did, but I do appreciate him saying that and got all the respect in the world for them over there."

Once the face of new hope for the Rams franchise, once the burgeoning QB who led Los Angeles to a Super Bowl berth, Goff is now -- rightly or wrongly -- the face of a winless Lions squad returning to play his former team and to the place where opportunity was lost.

Goff doesn't believe any of the storylines ahead of the game will impact what happens once kickoff has come and gone, but until then it's not just the talk of the town he used to call home, but also -- perhaps begrudgingly -- a motivating factor.

"I think to sum it up, like I said, it'll be fun to see all of those people and it'll be fun to be there, and of course you're motivated," Goff said. "Of course, you have the chip on your shoulder, I've spoken about that. There was some disrespect felt towards the end. There was some sourness there towards the end and you still feel that. You still have that chip on your shoulder. But at the same time, when the game starts, if I let any of that come into how I'm going to play the game, it would be selfish and I'm going to play the game just how I would any other game. And to be honest, I'm not worried about feeling some type of way once the game starts. I really don't."

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