Last Sunday Jared Goff got his long awaited first NFL start in Week 11 of the 2016 NFL Season. Was it the opening act of greatness or a harbinger of things to come? It all depends on what happens next.
When a QB needy team gives up the farm for the rights to the first pick of the NFL draft and selects a signal caller a lot is expected of them. That may not be fair, it is however the reality of the NFL Draft.
Piling on with expectation pressure is the situation with head coach Jeff Fisher who is trying to avoid another 7-9 finish after ending up below .500 every year he’s been with the Rams. Failure to do so “reportedly” puts his job on the hot seat and frankly, it should. Fisher’s failure to find a NFL capable QB is the albatross around his coaching neck and Goff is his last shot at getting the weight lifted.
In the face of another 4-6 start by the team the early accolades given to Fisher from fans for “protecting” his young signal caller by not starting him went out the window with the early success of other rookie QB’s around the league. Journeyman Case Keenum is a gamer who commands the respect of his teammates. He doesn’t have the arm however for a Vertical Play-Action style offense. His skill set is strictly West Coast and that offense is not in play here. Ergo teams are stacking the box with eight and nine man fronts to stop Todd Gurley and daring any Rams QB to beat them.
So how did the rookie do?
I took two games with similar defenses (nasty) and the same ending scores (10-13 losses) to compare the two QB’s performances.
The numbers say Keenum is better. Over 100 yards better. Over 10 completions better. Over 3 YPC better. A TD better. Lies, dam lies and statistics. You have to look at the entire picture. First, let’s start with that interception. Keenum will put up 1-4 a game. NOT what you want from your “game manager QB.” Case is getting tagged because he is trying to make throws in an offense not designed or called really, to his strengths. With the Rams mediocre WR corps there isn’t anyone to help him either. Occasionally a guy will make a play, but it’s usually in garbage time.
The full story however comes when you combine the QB and RB stats. Take a look at the same two games and compare Todd Gurley’s stats for the two.
With Jared Goff at QB Gurley got 8 more touches and a TD with his longest carry of the day being a 24 yarder for 6. Scratch that, the longest carry of his season. The ratio of run/pass was good and this is what the Rams need to master in order to win games on Sunday.
In L.A. the QB will have to make the WR’ers better versus the other way around. That’s a lot to ask of a rookie QB but there’s not a pass-catcher on the roster that’s savvy enough to help his QB on a consistent basis. Kenny Britt will occasionally, but that will be the exception rather than the rule.
Goff was short on a LOT of balls Sunday. That’s a footwork issue which will improve as gameday speed becomes second nature. Bottom line with Goff at the helm the Rams got better production from the running game and that’s critical to Jared Goff’s, the Rams’ and Jeff Fisher’s future.
Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells said it best. “You are what your record says you are.” Rams are 4-6.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over