Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Breaking News: Jared Goff to start for Rams against Dolphins

The Los Angeles Rams are finally ready to see if No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff can turn their offense around.
NFL Network's Michael Silver confirmed with Goff that the Rams plan to start the rookie Sunday against the Dolphins in Los Angeles. ESPN first reported the news. Case Keenum, who started nine games this season, will hit the bench after failing to lead the Rams to a touchdown in New Jersey on Sunday in a 9-6 win over the Jets.

Coach Jeff Fisher certainly didn't make the decision based on the desires of his fan base, but this should mollify the 80,000-plus folks in the L.A. Coliseum who were chanting Goff's name during the Rams' Week 9 home loss to Carolina.

This decision was overdue. NFL Network's Steve Wyche previously reported that Goff has made significant progress in practice during the regular season, and Keenum was not showing the same improvement. Since the first promising drive of the Rams' game in London, Keenum piloted the Rams for 34 drives. On those drives, Keenum threw five interceptions and the team scored one offensive touchdown, which came in garbage time.

Goff struggled badly in the preseason, failing to beat out Sean Mannion for the team's backup job coming out of training camp. Goff was quickly elevated to the No. 2 job, but he bided his time on the bench while other rookies like Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz and Cody Kessler gained valuable experience.

There is always the risk that Goff isn't "ready" but the Rams should be looking beyond just the 2016 season. They are 4-5 on the year and in the NFC playoff race, but Goff's development is more important than any playoff race with no hope for a title. Eli Manning has often talked about the experience of struggling when he played late in his rookie season as invaluable.

There's also a strong argument that the Rams' offense literally can't get any worse. They are dead last in points scored and now it's up to Goff to try to breathe life into a group that includes a revived Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin and franchise running back Todd Gurley.

Goff will get his first start against a strong defensive line against Miami, but the schedule is mostly favorable after that. He'll face lower tier defenses like New Orleans, Atlanta and San Francisco, although a road trip to Seattle in Week 15 will be a steep test.

The Rams can only hope that will be the first for Goff in a decade's worth of trips on the road in the NFC West.

It will be the first game action this season for Goff, who has been the No. 2 quarterback behind Case Keenum for eight of the Rams’ nine games.
On Monday, Fisher said of Goff: “He’s No. 2 and he’s a play away from playing. He’s ready. He’s preparing.”
The Rams ended a four-game losing streak by defeating the New York Jets on Sunday, improving their record to 4-5.
But the Rams have scored only two touchdowns in their last three games.
As he did after losses against the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers, Fisher adamantly maintained that Keenum was not the problem for an offense that ranks last in the NFL in scoring.
Keenum has passed for nine touchdowns, with 11 interceptions. His 76.7 passer rating ranks 30th in the NFL among 34 qualifying players.
The Rams traded with the Tennessee Titans for the top pick in the draft, giving up six picks to move up 14 spots.
They chose Goff, who starred at California, over North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, who has started all season for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sunday’s game will be the first time Goff will play since the Rams’ final exhibition game against the Minnesota Vikings.
In four exhibitions, Goff completed 22 of 49 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions and three fumbles.
Goff took first-team snaps during one bye week practice but has otherwise been limited to second-team reps.
A satirical look at more than 75 years of Football's Rams history, combined with discussions of American Exceptionalism and almost 50 years of personal experience in the life of a Rams Fan. The history parallels and intertwines life to form a humorous, yet serious look at American HistoryWorld History, an American Football team, and Political Science.