Jared Goff showed confidence in the Los Angeles Rams with his latest comments, but he’s also both right and wrong for doing so
The Los Angeles Rams went all-in around this time one year ago. Eyeing the 2016 NFL Draft at the time and knowing they needed a cornerstone, they traded a bevy of draft picks to move up to No. 1 overall. With that selection, the Rams took the hometown kid they thought to be their quarterback for the future: Jared Goff.
Maybe it was never expected of him, but the results from Year 1 with Goff in the organization were less than ideal. The rookie took nine games to usurp Case Keenum as the starting quarterback. What’s more, he was lackluster when he did win the job.
In seven starts, Goff completed a paltry 54.6 percent of his passes for only 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions. There were flashes of his potential, but he spent much of his time under immense pressure from opposing defenses and not dealing with it well.
However, Goff’s confidence after his disappointing rookie campaign isn’t wavering. On Monday, Goff spoke to reporters (per NFL.com) at spring workouts for the Rams and said that LA was “a lot closer to where we want to be than people may think.” As a young quarterback, the front office has to love that type of commitment and confidence from Goff. However, his assessment is somewhat misguided.
First off, Goff isn’t entirely wrong about his team. Even just after free agency, they are much more talented and better off than they were last season. Additions such as wide receiver Robert Woods, veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, cornerbacks Kayvon Webster and Nickell Robey-Coleman and edge rusher Connor Barwin all improve the team a great deal.
An already promising defense led by Aaron Donald could well be taken to the next level with those additions. What’s more, Goff should have better protection with Whitworth in tow and the shuffling of the line his arrival allows. He’ll be upright and more comfortable this season in addition to potentially being able to balance the offense out with Todd Gurley, which is obviously positive.
With that being said, the Rams still have a ways to go. The Woods signing isn’t as bad as the five-year, $34 million contract looks initially as it’s ultimately low-risk, high-reward in how it’s structured. However, going into the season with Woods and Tavon Austin as the top-two options in whatever order leaves substantial room for improvement. Factor in the lack of a real tight end and the team still waiting on Greg Robinson to be anything of value and the offense still has room to grow.
Meanwhile, the defense has its holes as well. Donald is fantastic and adding to the secondary like they did was necessary, as was the addition of a pass rusher like Barwin. LA is still lacking over the top, though, when it comes to safety. Moreover, they need Trumaine Johnson to fully embrace being a No. 1 guy while also getting the likes of Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree to become more consistent.
Perhaps all of these things happen and Goff is seeing that already in these workouts. However, he did mention in the same scrum that the team still has to put it all together. That’s a big step to being close to whatever goals they have in terms of success.
Despite what their quarterback says, the Rams are likely going to be bad again next season. This will be Goff’s first real season in the league where he’s not worried about getting demolished on every drop-back. What’s more there are still holes and questions on both sides of the ball. So in terms of being close, the quarterback is a bit off-base. Where he’s right, though, is that this team is getting better and building. Goff and everyone else might just have to wait a bit longer for it to start materializing in the form of success.