It’s December and while that means it’s time to binge Christmas movies and planning fantasy banquets, it’s also the time where Rams fans completely lose it over Jared Goff. That’s right, for the third year in a row this site is once again posting a “State Of Jared Goff” piece and while the clicks are nice (tis the season to smash that subscribe button) it’s also growing tiresome.
Unfortunately, Goff is a lightning rod for ire and after the Niners game, he’s earned every bit of it. He was absolutely atrocious, to the point where even the most ardent Goff apologists had less defense than the New York Jets. The worst part is that, deep down, fans could smell this type of performance coming from two towns over. He played well against the Seahawks defense (true, who hasn’t?), and despite his two picks, largely handled the Bucs pressure heavy defense with aplomb. So of course he was due for a relapse.
Last year was brutal for Goff, he became the league’s third highest-paid player and played like the league’s third-worst player. Apologists would counter with the fact that his line was in shambles and because Gurley’s knees were disintegrating defenses made his flaws even more glaring than they were before. This season, however, he doesn’t have that excuse.
The hydra running back system hums when Sean McVay feels like running. The line has been exemplary and has performed well even without Andrew Whitworth, who is out with injury. Yet, Goff has coughed up 14 turnovers (10 picks, four fumbles) and made plays that are more head-scratching than the “Tenet” release strategy. Furthermore, the offense seems more and more designed to keep him from throwing the deep ball at all costs while at the same time McVay seems content to have Goff throw the ball more than he should despite aiming for total offensive balance.
It’s bizarre, to say the least, and in games like the ones against Chicago and Seattle the balance actually happens and sure enough the team succeeds even if Goff doesn’t light up the box score himself. However, in games like Miami or both San Francisco games, the balance is out of whack and Goff is susceptible to turnovers because the defense knows he typically folds under pressure like a mayor imposing strict lockdown orders. There is no solution except for Goff to actually prove he’s working on his deficiencies which he’s shown in spurts but again relapses at the drop of a hat.
The truth is, this is who he is. He walks the good walk and the hard walk. He’s a beautiful ride but there’s a lot of ugliness along the way and despite RamsTwitter peyote’s dreams about trading for Deshaun Watson, that’s not happening. Jared Goff is here to stay for the next 3-5 years.
That’s right, Jared Goff, like it or not is the franchise quarterback and against the Cards, he might be the good version of Goff, and then it’ll be a dice roll a few days later against the Pats. He’ll probably thrive on 10 days rest against a tanking Jets team and then against the Seahawks and Cards who knows?! He’s not going to consistently deliver and the floor for him is deeper than the floor of the house in “Home Alone 2”. It’ll be confounding some weeks and a pleasant surprise other weeks.
Despite how dark it gets, fans need to take a breath and realize that it can be a lot worse. Goff at least gives the Rams a chance to win. They could be the Bears where the Foles/Trubisky ceiling is lower than the Rotten Tomatoes score for “The New Mutants” and the floor is an endless abyss. The best thing to do is realize that’s how it’s going to be. He’s a system quarterback and so much needs to go right for him to succeed.
It’s not always going to be fun and every throw, be it the deep ball or the inevitable third-down screen, will be an adventure. As long as McVay calibrates the system and doesn’t try and force the pass plays it’ll be okay. If the defenses can’t generate too much pressure there’s hope, and if the run game can drive the ship, it’s golden.
That’s a lot of if’s and as Willie in “Bad Santa” would say “shit in one hand and wish in the other and see what fills up first” but hey more often than not the wish comes true.
He’ll never be Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers. They’ll never be able to trade him and he’s not getting benched for John Wolford or some veteran quarterback to be named later. And most certainly the Rams won’t draft a new quarterback in the first round, mostly because they’ll never keep a first-round pick until the end of time.
The Jared Goff era will be remembered as one of mass stress but if he can win a ring it’ll be worth it. For now, the best thing to do is to take some beta-blockers, practice some meditation, and have a cocktail at the ready because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.