NFC Notes: Jared Goff, Lions, Packers, Vikings

Lions

What a difference winning makes. Several weeks ago the Lions had one of the worst records in the league and the clock seemed like it was ticking on QB Jared Goff. Now Detroit is 4-1 in its last five games and the locker room is fully behind Goff. 

“You can just tell he’s, like, super comfortable back there,” Lions LT Taylor Decker said after the Lions’ 40-14 win against the Jaguars, via the Athletic’s Colton Pouncy. “He’s playing really, really confident ball. Trusting the protection, trusting the receivers to be at their route depths and on time and then just delivering strikes. There were some tight-window throws he made there and we had some receivers making some big-time catches.”

“Just make the right decisions, take care of the football,” Lions HC Dan Campbell added. “And he’s done that. And that’s five weeks going now. That’s a big part of the reason why we’re winning.”

It’s probably not a coincidence that the Lions’ resurgence on offense has coincided with getting guys like WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, RB D’Andre Swift, WR Josh Reynolds and WR DJ Chark back healthy. 

“We were joking about it earlier this week, like calling it — we had our horses back,” Goff said. “And you could feel it on Wednesday with Josh and DJ, and obviously Swift with his progression now, where he’s at now. Those guys make a huge difference. They’re some of our best players and getting them on the field and getting them the ball typically results in good things and makes my life a lot easier.”

Packers

  • Packers HC Matt LaFleur isn’t expecting LT David Bakhtiari back for an extended period of time after last week’s appendectomy: “From what I’m told, it could be a while.” (Matt Schneidman)
  • LaFleur expects RB Aaron Jones to return after the bye week. (Bill Huber)
  • LaFleur also expects fourth-round WR Romeo Doubs to return after the bye. Doubs worked out before the game but the team decided to hold him out one more week to give his high ankle sprain additional time to recover. (Tom Silverstein)
  • LaFleur said he wants QB Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback next season if he decides to return: “Yeah, absolutely. Of course.” (Schneidman)
  • Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said he wants Rodgers to return next season: “Surely, yeah. We want all our guys back.” (Ryan Wood)
  • Gutekunst is happy with QB Jordan Love‘s development: “We’re very pleased with his progression.” (Huber)
  • Gutekunst added he would like to see Love play more this season, but he’s seen all he’s needed to in order to make his decision on his fifth-year option. (Schneidman)
  • Gutekunst said the team hit their walk-away point at the trade deadline, particularly at wide receiver: “There wasn’t really any opportunities that presented themselves that made any sense.” (Wood)
  • Gutekunst said if the team kept WR Davante Adams they probably wouldn’t have their young group of wide receivers: “We probably wouldn’t have had those young guys. It changes the dynamics of what you think you might need.” (Wood)
  • Gutekunst added Bakhtiari will be another “offseason decision,” much like Rodgers: “He’s playing at a very, very high level. Left tackles don’t grow on trees.” (Wood)
  • Gutekunst credited first-round WR Christian Watson for overcoming injuries early on in the season: “I think a lot of guys, that would’ve been it, right? Hey, let’s get to the next season and see how it goes but I give him a lot of credit for not losing faith and not losing his work ethic.” (Wes Hodkiewicz)

Vikings

  • Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson on his return to Detroit and what he told Lions HC Dan Campbell following his trade: “When I got the (trade) call from Coach Campbell and the GM, it was like, ‘All right, cool. Sounds cool. I appreciate you guys. Thank you for teaching me some things and for the opportunity. I wish you guys nothing but the best.’ So it was truly a good experience. There’s nothing bad I can say about it.” (Chris Tomasson)
  • Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell is pleased with WR Jalen Reagor‘s progress and said the team is working to implement him more into the offense: “I’m proud of where Jalen’s at. We’ve tried to infuse him more in the offense.” (Tomasson)

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