A goal every year, for (almost) every team is to make the playoffs. In 2015 the St. Louis Rams had a nasty D, a stud (rookie) RB, quick WR’s and a big armed QB who wasn’t afraid to throw it downfield. On paper all the i’s were dotted. All the t’s were crossed. That experiment led to another 7-9 finish and another losing season for the talented, beleaguered club.
Offseason self-assessment led to an obvious conclusion. The QB position was the primary problem with the team (duh). It’s one thing to identify a problem and quite another to address it. In the NFL those who wait, wilt and die. Coach Fisher used the “big hammer” approach, ID’d his signal caller, bundled his picks, made the move and got his man. So far, so good. When a team takes steps you want them to lead to the playoffs. Goff, undoubtedly has that potential.
However unless his name is Marino seeing the descriptor of”rookie” before your QB’s name isn’t going to put the Vegas odds in your teams favor very often. It’s no different with Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. There will be a maturation process. That’s NFL code speak for “rookie QB’s have growing pains as they learn the game.”As a wise man once said “Rookie QB’s travel the road to the playoffs in both directions.”
“Rookie QB’s travel the road to the playoffs in both directions.” – Wise Man
Earlier this week Goff was seen taking necessary steps that most assuredly lead in the proper direction as he began showing signs of being comfortable in the pocket. Any NFL player who is thinking instead of playing after the ball has snapped is playing slowly and stressfully. For rookie QB’s it’s the norm. In order for any player to play well they have to play loose, with a free mind, with no fear, thought or distraction. All of those are present when a first year signal caller is trying to figure out what to do under a blitz he’s never seen before. On Tuesday however it began to come together for Jared Goff.
Goff is currently working with the second unit. That’s a good thing on many levels. First off he gets to face the second team defense which gives him a chance to grow and gain confidence. That process was kick started on Tuesday as Goff began to occasionally relax in the huddle and let his natural athleticism come forth. He began to toss the rock with zip, aplomb and confidence. As Coach Fisher opined after practice “He made some really good throws.”
The best toss came at the end of practice and didn’t score a touchdown or win a game. What it did do was ignite the crowd attending the practice as they witnessed their QB, in pads looking like a guy who can get them to the promised land. He looked like a QB who has the arm strength and the release to hit speedy WR’s deep down the field. He looked like a QB that could lead the team to the playoffs. For one play.
It’s all about the baby steps for a rookie QB. But like any newborn there’s nothing quite like those first, precious steps. Jared Goff just took his first baby steps on the road to the playoffs. I hope he never looks back.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over