As the Los Angeles Rams try to avoid letting another season fizzle away into nothing, they did what the media and fans have been asking for weeks: Bench Case Keenum and start rookie quarterback Jared Goff.
Goff, the number one overall pick in the 2016 draft, started the season as the #3 quarterback on the roster. But with every bad game by Keenum, win or lose (the Rams are 4-5), more and more voices were heard suggesting it’s time for Goff to start. They pointed at the Philadelphia Eagles and their rookie quarterback, the number 2 overall pick, Carson Wentz. The Dallas Cowboys are also starting a rookie quarterback, Dak Prescott, and he’s a four round pick. So why not Goff?
Hopefully for Rams fans, this isn’t Fisher caving into the demands just because some people have voiced concern over the Rams already regretting selecting Goff. On the surface, this seems like the right choice. The Rams have scored less points than anyone in the NFL. They’ve already had 3 games this season without a touchdown, surprisingly two of them wins, including their 9-6 victory against the New York Jets this week, which probably put them on their last lifeline before the playoff slips away, like it has each season for the last 12 years.
And it’s hard to argue in favor of Keenum holding on to his job. The former Houston product has nine touchdown passes to 11 interceptions, posting a 76.8 passer rating. His high sack ratio (6.8%) suggests this may be more than just Keenum causing this offense to underperform, but even Keenum himself won’t be able to really defend his performances so far, throwing more touchdowns than interceptions in a game only 3 times this season.
The problem for the Rams and Jeff Fisher? The problem wasn’t just Keenum, probably. The team is near the bottom of the league not just in overall scoring and passing yards, but running the ball too. Todd Gurley, who emerged as the next big running back star last season, has only 517 yards on 167 carries this season, scoring 3 out of the Rams four rushing touchdowns. He has only 3 games of over 60 rushing yards so far. And if the offensive line is the big problem, Goff isn’t going to really make a difference. Worse, they could mess up his career by putting him in a terrible situation, and the Rams can’t afford for Goff to be a misfire so early.