With the Los Angeles Rams heading South, even beyond the realms of 7-9, more and more people are calling for them to start Jared Goff. That’s probably not a good idea.
Goff, the number one overall pick in the 2016 draft, still hasn’t thrown a single pass in his rookie year. It’s all been Case Keenum, another former air-raid player in college, who is 3-5 as a starter for the Rams, throwing just nine touchdowns to 11 interceptions so far, including three games of multiple interceptions. Only twice did he finish a game without throwing an interception. He’s on pace for getting sacked 40 times this season, a 6.6% ratio thus far, which begins to point to part of the problem.
On the Rams most recent loss, 13-10 at home to the Carolina Panthers, Keenum wasn’t just booed. The fans called for Goff and even Tim Tebow, who is struggling to make an impact at the lowest level of minor league Baseball right now. It was the second consecutive game of the Rams scoring only 10 points, and the Rams third straight loss. They started the season 3-1, mostly due to a terrific defense, which has been holding opponents to 20.9 points per game. The offense, in terms of scoring, is last in the NFL with 16.3 points per game.
So why not Goff? There are two explanations:
- He’s just not good enough, and the Rams have realized they made a mistake. Goff is also a product of an air-raid college system, which rarely pans out in the NFL. While he was hyped up as the best QB coming out of California, it can’t be that he hasn’t taken the field just for developmental reasons and the Rams being patient, right?
- The Rams think Goff is good, but don’t want to destroy him by throwing him onto the field in this situation. The Rams offensive line might be the worst in the NFL right now. Todd Gurley is averaging only 3.1 yards per carry and 56.4 yards per game. It’s not just a matter of protecting Goff from sacks. The offense can’t do much before the Rams improve their offensive line, which could happen quickly with one good draft pick and a pretty strong OL free agency class
Maybe there’s a third option. Maybe the Rams believe that developing Goff slowly is the best way to ensure he’ll be a good quarterback for them. Not right now, but for the next 10 years. And while they wait for the new stadium to be built, they’re willing to sacrifice this season and the statistics of Case Keenum so their number one pick won’t be a failure. They’ve had too many of those over the years.