Sep 25, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) points as he works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Rookie Jared Goff will start for the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
After weeks of offensive frustration, the Los Angeles Rams finally made the overdue decision to let rookie Jared Goff start at quarterback instead of Case Keenum on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. For weeks, fans have been anxious to see the No. 1 pick takeover at quarterback due to lack of production on offense, and now that the time has finally come, it’s time for Goff to show why he was the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
At this point, Los Angeles needs all of the help they can get if they’re going to have any chance of still making a last-minute run at the playoffs, as crazy as that may sound. With seven games remaining on the schedule and the Rams currently sitting at 4-5, the team hopes Goff continues to build off the progress he’s made throughout the regular season in his first career start against the Dolphins.
Was this the right move by Los Angeles to make Goff their starter this late in the season? It certainly can’t hurt to try when looking at how the offense has looked so far in 2016, but here’s five reasons why making Goff was the right move for the Rams.
Oct 2, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) warms up prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Goff is the Future
When looking at the blockbuster trade the Rams pulled off with the Tennessee Titans to acquire Goff, it’s been frustrating to see Jeff Fisher take this long to finally give the No. 1 pick a chance at quarterback. Los Angeles always knew it would only be a matter of time before Goff was handed the starting job when considering all of the draft picks they surrendered–including next year’s first-round pick–to land the former California star.
Even though he’s shown improvements in practice throughout the regular season, if preseason is any indication of what to expect from Goff, there’s a good chance Rams fans will have to be patient when it comes to their new quarterback. It may turn out to be frustrating at times, but the early experience, as a rookie for Goff should pay off down the road.
Plus, it doesn’t help Goff that other rookie quarterbacks like Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz have set the bar high when it comes to early success. When looking at the weak receiving corps Goff has to work with as quarterback for Los Angeles, it’s safe to say this year’s top pick may have a more difficult time than his two classmates from a production standpoint.
Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) rushes against the Carolina Panthers during a NFL football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Case Keenum Is Not the Answer
If Case Keenum were on any other football team in the NFL, he would easily be their No. 2 quarterback, and it’s not even a debate. There’s a reason why Keenum has struggled to find success throughout his NFL career as Rams fans couldn’t be happier to see the veteran replaced by Goff for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.
Los Angeles has given Keenum every opportunity in the world to prove he deserved the starting job at quarterback, and while he displayed signs of potential at times, he never really was the right answer at the end of the day. No player that has only broken the 300-yard mark twice in 24 career starts deserves to be the top quarterback on any team, but for some reason Fisher took longer than expected when it comes to giving Keenum numerous chances.
While there were plenty of games to choose from the list of disappointments, no game sticks out more than when the Rams were in London, a game in which Keenum threw four interceptions. Not to mention Los Angeles has only scored 29 points over their last three games, which is just another prime example of how much Keenum has struggled to help this team score points on a weekly basis.
Sep 25, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Todd Gurley Needs Help
There’s been plenty of disappointing players from the 2016 season, but there’s no doubt that Todd Gurley ranks near the top of that list when considering last year’s Rookie of the Year just can’t seem to find a consistent groove on offense. However, Gurley deserves some benefit of the doubt when considering opposing defenses have been stacking the box more due to the Rams inability to be consistent through the air.
The fact that it’s Week 11 and Gurley still hasn’t broken the 100-yard rushing mark on the season is simply ridiculous when considering the former Georgia star rushed for 1,106 yards with 10 touchdowns as a rookie. What’s even more crazy is many believed Gurley was capable of taking home the rushing title in his sophomore season, but that’s obviously not going to happen unless some sort of miracle took place over the team’s final seven games.
Hopefully, Gurley will be one of the players that benefits the most from Goff taking over at quarterback as opposing defenses will hopefully be more concerned over the Rams’ passing game. And if that does end up happening, maybe Gurley will finally earn that first 100-yard rushing game of the 2016 season.
Nov 13, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher argues a call during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Fisher is Desperate
A few weeks ago, reports surfaced about Fisher’s fate with Los Angeles would be determined over the next four games. Even though the Rams saw their four game losing streak come to an end in Week 10 following a 9-6 win over the New York Jets, the victory still didn’t help Fisher’s case when it comes seeing his hot seat cool down as the head coach seems to be entering desperation mode when it comes to job security.
With that being said, it was surprising to see Fisher originally stick with Keenum as his quarterback heading into Week 11 before making the switch to Goff a few days later. After Los Angeles earned their second win of the season without scoring a single touchdown, Fisher finally realized a change was needed on offense before it was too late.
Even if the Rams end up losing against the Dolphins on Sunday, a strong outing by Goff could help change upper management’s mind when it comes to keeping Fisher around for the long run. As crazy as it sounds, Los Angeles may realize the potential of Fisher playing a key role in developing Goff as a quarterback, which may be part of the reason why the switch was made now.
Nov 13, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) carries the ball against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Offense Needs a Spark
After having one of the league’s top defenses in 2015, the Rams were hoping to see their offense take the next step this season in order to become playoff contenders in the NFC. While the potential seemed to be there at the beginning of the season following a 3-1 start, the last five games have made it clear this offense is nowhere close to where they need to be in order to be labeled as contenders.
Not only has the offense taken a toll on the production level of Gurley, but Kenny Britt is the only one in the passing game making any sort of impact as the wideout is on pace to be the team’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2007. Of course, when it comes to the most disappointing players in the passing game, nobody takes the cake like Tavon Austin as the wide receiver is considered one of the league’s most overpaid players thanks to the $42 million extension he received in the preseason.
So will Goff taking over at quarterback give Los Angeles the spark they need on offense to help these wide receivers reach a higher level? Only time will tell, but any option other than Keenum seems like a win when looking at how terrible the Rams’ offense has truly been this season.