In the latter stage of Mark Brunell’s playing career, the quarterback served as a backup to Drew Brees with the Saints.
Brunell is now the Lions’ quarterbacks coach, charged with aiding Jared Goff to have a bounce-back season after he was traded to Detroit.
One of the observations Brunell made this week about Goff goes back to Brunell’s experience in New Orleans.
“He has a lot of qualities that I saw in Drew Brees,” Brunell said, via Justin Rogers of The Detroit News. “Really, the passion for the game, the work ethic, the leadership. There are some similarities there, which is great to see.”
Reports out of Detroit’s training camp have characterized Goff’s practices as up and down, with several down days. And the signal-caller was 7-of-9 passing for 56 yards in last week’s preseason game.
But Brunell was as positive as ever about the 26-year-old QB on Thursday.
“I’ve been impressed with Jared from Day One,” Brunell said. “Let’s start with the person. He’s a hard worker. He has a great attitude. He’s a very good leader. As far as him on the field, you guys have seen it, he can throw that ball. He makes good decisions with it, and he’s really grown into this offense to the point where he’s doing a good job with it.
“I, as a quarterbacks coach, it’s important to stress how critical it is to take care of the ball, to make good decisions. … If you don’t, you find yourself in trouble, but he’s been very smart with the ball. It’s been fun coaching him. He’s great to coach, because he’s coachable. When he does make a mistake, he responds well. He learns from it, and that’s all you can ask for in your quarterback room.”
Taking care of the ball has been Goff’s problem over the last two seasons, having committed 38 turnovers in that span. He threw a pair of interceptions in Thursday’s practice, too, but Brunell said that as long as those mistakes are corrected going forward, it’s not a big deal.
Whether or not Brunell can coach up Goff’s Brees-like qualities remains to be seen. But if he plays well, Goff can solidify his standing as Detroit’s quarterback of the future.