Pat Caputo: Give Jared Goff a fair chance


Consider this about Jared Goff.

He is going from one of the NFL’s best teams to one of the worst.

He is replacing Matthew Stafford, whose popularity in this town soared in recent years, as the Lions’ quarterback.

Goff is about as California as it gets -- born, raised, educated, and honed as a QB there in high school, college and the pros.

Sunsets on Mulholland Drive. Potholes on Woodward Avenue.

Look, we understand the beauty of this area. It’s not even hidden. Best place ever. Stafford very much appreciated it. Perhaps that’s why we appreciated him so much.

But first impressions are critical.

Detroit is anything but LA-LA Land, literally or figuratively. Compounded with the perpetual and justifiable bitterness of Lions fans, and, yes, media skepticism, it could present extreme culture shock for Goff.

The trade for Goff nonetheless was a winner for the Lions. At 26, he is a proven commodity, having led a team to the Super Bowl. His play has tailed off. He must take better care of the ball. Yet, the upside remains.

Goff is capable of being Detroit's QB in the long term. If the Lions draft a QB and Goff plays well, he would present significant value as a trade asset. If Goff fizzles out, the Lions still have two first-round selections and a third-rounder from the Stafford deal.

It’s a no-lose situation for the Lions.

It isn’t that way for Goff. This unquestionably is a fork in the road for his career. Not long ago, he appeared on the cusp of elite status. Now there are questions whether he is a genuine NFL starter.

Professional athletes are expected to perform. Goff is cashing $25 million per season. That represents a high rank in professional sports, and with it the responsibility to produce.

By all means, hold Goff accountable.

But also, give him a chance, because he is being put into far less-than-ideal situation.

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