Rams coach Jeff Fisher cannot justify playing Case Keenum over Jared Goff anymore
It doesn't take much for fans to start chanting for the backup quarterback — the most popular player on almost every NFL team — to get snaps.
It does require something special for those same fans to chant for a quarterback who isn't even on the roster to play.
That's what happened Sunday in Los Angeles.
Case Keenum has done his best this season for the Rams, stringing together some middle-of-the-road play at times, but against the Panthers' weak defense — one that, on the back of a terrible secondary, had allowed teams to score an average of 28 points per game in their first seven contests — he was unable to lead Los Angeles to a single point until the 8:06 mark of the fourth quarter or a touchdown until the final 34 seconds of what was a 13-10 loss.
It was a game that the Rams should have won, without question.
So fans chanted for Jared Goff — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and the Rams' backup quarterback — and Tim Tebow to play.
The latter is ridiculous — he's a professional baseball player now and he would never quit that job to be an NFL quarterback.
But the former needs to happen — Goff should start next week when the Rams play at the New York Jets.
The switch should have happened last week, when the Rams had a bye week. Alas, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said that the quarterback that the team traded six picks to acquire this past spring wasn't ready.
When will he be ready?
Fisher has given us no timeframe or context as to his rationale. The jig is up.
Goff might not be ready, but Keenum has proven to be a placeholder, at best. The highlights of his game were a faked spike going for a one-yard gain and throwing a pass left-handed.
It's not all Keenum's fault the Rams' offense is anemic — he does boast an army of bad receivers (perhaps the worst in the NFL) and an offensive line that's been inconsistent at best. But Keenum isn't as blameless as Fisher wants you to believe.
The Rams can't run the ball with Todd Gurley anymore — defenses are overwhelming the line of scrimmage and daring the Rams to throw. (Gurley ran the ball 10 times Sunday.) Keenum and the Rams receivers aren't able to do it, so the team's offense continues to regress. Sunday was Los Angeles' fourth-straight loss.
If the Rams want to be a playoff team in 2016 — and they are still, shockingly, in the hunt — they're not going to be able to do it with the current iteration of their offense.
Goff might not make LA better immediately, but he's going to be the starting quarterback eventually and there's nothing they're putting on the field now that's worth salvaging. It's time to roll the dice with the kid.
Goff needs to be ready — if he isn't a better option than Keenum after eight weeks of the season, then he shouldn't have been the No. 1 overall pick.
Every week that Goff doesn't play, the Rams and Fisher look more incompetent (if that was at all possible). Either the Rams' organization has no idea what it's doing in the draft or Fisher is incapable of preparing a young quarterback. At some point, self-preservation has to kick in for either party, right?