Goff Making Stafford Trade Not The Boon It Once Seemed; Teddy Represents 305, Burrow ‘Loved’ Pandemic, Unhappy Baker

It’s universally known as the Matt Stafford trade. That’s because when the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions traded quarterbacks (and other pieces) in January 2021 everyone saw how it immediately helped the Rams win the Super Bowl – in the first season their new quarterback arrived.

And the Lions, having added Jared Goff from Los Angeles, mostly got a quarterback who was inconsistent.

But maybe we need to rename this trade. Because what seemed like a trade the Rams clearly won, is now starting to look a lot less lopsided with Goff so far outplaying Stafford.

This season Stafford and Goff have both played four games. And Goff has passed for more yards than Stafford (1,126 yards vs. 1,015) and is No. 3 in the NFL in that category.

Goff has thrown 11 touchdowns to Stafford’s 4. And he’s tied for the NFL lead in that category.

Stafford, meanwhile, has thrown 6 interceptions and leads the NFL in that category. This after throwing 17 interceptions and leading the league in that category last year.

Jared Goff, in other words, is the statistically better quarterback in that trade right now, just as Stafford was that guy last year.

The problem for Goff is the Lions are still an incomplete team while the Rams are much more talented in other areas. And so the Lions are 1-3 while the Rams have been 2-2.

QB Wins Is Not A Legit Stat

(OutKick note: Quarterback wins is not a legitimate statistic any more than punter wins is. Wins are a team a stat. And if you disagree, you must believe crazy stuff like Joe Flacco was the NFL’s best QB in 2012-13 because the Ravens won the Super Bowl.)

The start of this season suggests the idea the Lions got fleeced by taking Goff is actually not correct regardless of the Rams Super Bowl win. Rebuilding Detroit was not going to win it all with Stafford last year but might win something in the future with the 27-year-old Goff.

Goff’s play so far, perhaps evidence he’s entering his prime, has proven that.

“I don’t think I ever needed to prove it,” Goff said I always kind of knew it. I’ve been in some good situations and [offensive coordinator] Ben [Johnson] has done a great job of getting me ready to play.

“We’ve had some good receivers out there and I’ve made some good throws and done some good things but like I kind of alluded to, it’s been just short a couple of times …”

ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 18: Micah Parsons #11 of the Dallas Cowboys sacks Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

The Reason Joey B Loved The Pandemic

The question to Joe Burrow seemed innocuous enough: What did you think of the COVID-19 pandemic?

“I loved it,” Burrow said Wednesday, with no hesitation.

Wait, what?

This is where we see that 2022 social media, with its 160 character story-telling, might turn Burrow’s initial answer into a problem without context. But the lesson is, shut up and listen and the entire statement makes sense.

“I was back at home and all my friends were in town,” Burrow added. “Nobody was in town for very long but during that time I just thought everybody that I went to high school with was in town at that time because everybody had just graduated college and were still living with their parents.

“So I was able to see a lot of people that I hadn’t seen in a long time. And I’m not exactly a big social being so I’m not going out to dinner all the time anyway, so I enjoyed it.”

Translation: The pandemic allowed Burrow an opportunity to bond with friends. He made the best of the situation.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – AUGUST 20: Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Miami Dolphins signals at the line of scrimmage during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Teddy Bridgewater Represents Home

They call Miami the 305 because that’s the area code and it is definitely stamped in Teddy Bridgewater’s heart.

Bridgewater is a South Florida guy through and through. He grew up playing football minutes from where Hard Rock Stadium sits. He played high school at Northwestern High in Miami’s Liberty City section.

And now he’s the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback.

“It’s a huge blessing to be able to just suit up in my hometown,” said Bridgewater, who replaces Tua Tagovailoa in the lineup Sunday against the New York Jets. “I played little league football five minutes down the road at Bunche Park. So if I leave work tomorrow and go to the park, all of the little kids will come running up to me excited.

“If I go to the Northwestern game on Friday night, everybody will be excited. It’s such a relief, honestly, knowing that the love is genuine no matter where I go. I really appreciate that from my community and my people. I know they’re excited that I get this opportunity. I’m looking forward to it.”

Bridgewater has played for five teams including Miami. And even when he was away with Minnesota, New Orleans, Carolina, Denver or the Jets (for one training camp), he tried to connect with locals. But nothing like now.

“It’s really something that I always talked about when I was playing for different teams out of town,” he said. “Just allowing for people to see me in the flesh. There are so many kids in the Bunche Park area, the Liberty City area, who want to be Teddy Bridgewater and look up to Teddy Bridgewater, but they can only see me on the television.

“So when they can see me in the flesh on the sideline [of high school games], high school kids can touch me and interact and realize that I’m human just like them. That’s food for my soul.”

Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield reacts to 0-2 start. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Baker Mayfield reacts to 0-2 start. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Tough Times For Baker Mayfield

It was rough watching the Carolina Panthers play (and lose) Sunday because this team has a solid defense but an offense that cannot get out of its own way right now.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield, part of the problem, needs to lead the charge to fix it. But watching him throw for 115 yards Sunday until he added 82 in the final 7 minutes of a game his team had already lost was rough.

And watching him talk about the offense’s situation on Wednesday was almost as rough.

“Nobody’s happy where we’re at, plain and simple,” Mayfield said. “You can either harp on it or look at the tape, fix it, and get better from it. We have to overall be better. It’s consistency from looking at the tape. We have to do our job better, at a higher level.”

The Panthers’ offense kind of sort of runs the ball well in spurts but isn’t consistent. And it definitely doesn’t pass the ball with consistency.

Identity Crisis

So there’s an identity crisis because no one knows what these guys do well.

“Right now, there’s no identity because we’re not consistent enough,” Mayfield admitted. “That’s not anything schematically wise; that’s on us as players executing. We have to be better. We have to own that. We just haven’t been good enough. There’s no excuses.”

Mayfield is putting it on himself. And that’s probably deserved because he has the second-lowest quarterback rating of any quarterback starting this week.

“I’ll take that (criticism) every day of the week,” Mayfield said. “…I’ve always prided myself on being able to elevate the guys around me and lead at an extremely high level. Obviously, that hasn’t happened, and I’m working really hard on that. And it starts with me doing my job the best I can and going from there. I’ll take a lot of blame for that.”

It’s not just Mayfield. The Carolina offensive line is inconsistent. The team’s best receiver is a running back. There’s little production from the tight end position.

So fans are running out of patience and it wasn’t surprising they booed the unit Sunday.

“It’s time for our offense to actually play well, instead of just relying on our defense and special teams to save us and bail us out,” Mayfield said.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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