It was understandable to be excited for Jared Goff to finally start under center for the Los Angeles Rams two weeks ago. The newly relocated Rams had bet the farm on Goff, trading six picks to acquire the first overall selection in this year’s draft and take L.A’s presumptive young superstar. But after a reportedly terrible training camp where he struggled to learn an NFL playbook, he conceded the starting job back to the entirely mediocre Case Keenum. Keenum — as is his nature — played mediocre, but with a star running back in Todd Gurley behind him and a very good defense on the other side of the ball, fans thought that Goff might be the key to jumpstarting the Rams into a legitimate team.
After a brutal 14-10 loss to the Dolphins and an embarrassing 49-21 thwacking by the Saints, to put it kindly, that hasn’t been the case.
Whether you’re a Rams fan, a Cal student or just an NFL watcher hoping for a new great quarterback to observe, wanting Goff to step in and start tearing up defenses made a lot of sense. As an Los Angeles native, I went to the Rams season opener against the San Francisco 49ers hoping to see Goff have a memorable debut while playing only an hour’s drive from his alma mater and two from his childhood home. I was pretty disappointed when Goff ended up not even being active for the game, but by the end of the 28-0 beatdown, I was incredibly relieved that Goff didn’t have to waste his time playing for this incompetent edition of the Rams.
The 49ers are one of the most dismal teams in the NFL, with the absolute worst defense in the league, incredibly managing to give up the most total yards, rush yards and points per game. The Rams still managed to score zero points. Behind the hapless offensive line, Keenum barely had three seconds in the pocket, and linebackers consistently got to Gurley in the backfield.
Now that the Cowboys have built an incredible offensive line and become one of this year’s premier teams, more casual fans are realizing what great play in the trenches can do for a football team. But a lot of people still don’t recognize just how much a terrible line makes it nearly impossible for any quarterback, and especially a young one, to have any success whatsoever. And unfortunately, the Rams o-line has not gotten better since week one. They’re slightly better at pass blocking than they are at run blocking, but that’s an incredibly low bar to clear, as they only get 3.4 yards per rush attempt.
Behind a line like that, and with absolutely no running game to rely on, the more Goff plays, the more he’s going to become a panicky QB who can’t wait in the pocket or take time to read his routes, and the more he’s going to take unnecessary risks because nothing else is working. And his main targets being Kenny Britt — who most fans thought was out of the league — and Tavon Austin, who received a $42 million contract on the basis of purely hypothetical big play potential, only hurts matters.The Rams have way too much on the line with Goff to risk him developing these poor instincts and ruining his potential.
In his two games, Goff has thrown some really great passes and shown that unbelievable accuracy on deep balls that made him such a hyped prospect. But he’s clearly having trouble adapting to the NFL after playing in Sonny Dykes’ offense, which is as far from pro-style as you can possibly get, and the rest of his team and coaching staff is only making it harder on him. These losses have shown there’s no upside to Goff starting on this team as it’s currently constructed, and there’s a whole lot the Rams can lose by it. As much as it pains me to say, for the love of god, bring Case Keenum back in.