Grading Jared Goff Among QBs Through 4 Games
One-quarter of the NFL season is through and there have been some incredible QB performances. Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson are on track to have record-breaking seasons. Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have picked up where they left off last season. Josh Allen is shocking the world with his improvement. Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady are proving that life after 35 isn’t what it used to be. And, Aaron Rodgers is stalking the frozen tundra like the fifth addition to four horsemen of the apocalypse. Not to mention he has yet to throw an interception.
Deservedly so, much of the attention has been paid to the QB’s mentioned above, Jared Goff has been overlooked. But, the Rams offense looks a lot more like it did in 2018 and Goff looks more capable to run it this season. McVay has rediscovered his belief in the running game and the offensive line once again looks like an actual professional football line.
So, how does Goff match up to the top 10 QB’s that are setting the world on fire? Through four weeks, how does Goff look when graded on this steep curve.
The Basics: Yards, Touchdowns, Accuracy, etc..
Goff’s stats are dwarfed when put side-by-side with Prescott and Wilson. Prescott is averaging 423 yards per game and Wilson has four touchdowns per game. Goff has just over 1,000 yards and six TD’s total. Compared to those two he looks bad, but he isn’t that far behind the rest in those categories.
Mahomes and Brady are fewer than 100 yards ahead of Goff and Goff has by far attempted the fewest passes among the top QB’s. Lamar Jackson has fewer, but the two QB’s are nearly playing different positions. Goff has attempted 122 passes and so far he has completed 72.1% of those passes. Goff is fifth in the league in completion percentage.
Dak Prescott, who leads the league in passing attempts, is averaging over 50 throws a game. That’s 39% more than Goff. And Prescott is completing a respectable 68.2% of his throws. But, despite Prescott’s ability to rack up massive stats, Goff has a better QB rating, beating Prescoff by more than five points.
In this category, the standard-bearer is Russell Wilson. He’s first in completion percentage, third in yards, first in TD, first in QB rating. If he is an A+, then Goff is a B-, but this average grade has more to do with how high Wilson has set the bar than Goff’s overall performance. For that, a closer look is required to see how Goff is getting it done.
The Basic Grade: B-
Goff is ranked fifth in completion percentage and his yards per completion is 12.1. Among the QB’s in the top five in completion percentage, Goff is ranked second in yards per completion. He’s behind, you guessed it, Russell Wilson. He has 12.5 yards. This means that Goff is making good decisions and making good throws. It also means that Goff is throwing to the right receiver at the right time. The Rams are second in the league in yards after the catch per completion with 6 YAC/comp.
And it isn’t just because he is picking easy passes to make, his expected completion percentage is 64.4%. Goff is throwing to guys who have room to pick up extra yards, but he is also attempting to make difficult throws. That is what offensive efficiency is all about. Half of the teams with a top 10 QB are achieving the same results. The Packers, Chiefs, Cowboys, and the Steelers are all in the top 10 of yac/comp.
This has led to the Rams being ranked second in offensive DVOA through four weeks and a top-ranking DVOA last week against the Giants. Many saw the low score as a sign that the Rams offense was struggling, but only the running game truly struggled. The ground game was held to its lowest production, just 58 yards at 2.5 yards per carry. Goff had a solid game and he was a big reason why they came away with the win.
PFF also graded Goff 88.1 which was 4th best, behind Rodgers(96.3), Wilson (95), and Brady (90.7) Not bad company, but according to them, he has outplayed Allen, Mahomes, Jackson, and anyone else you could consider a top 10 QB.
Based on these metrics, Goff has to be considered top 10, maybe even top five. Therefore, he must be graded as such.
Deep Dive Grade: A
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QB’s only succeed in offenses that know their skill set and their limitations. The Rams offense is, once again, designed to capitalize on what Goff can do. Is Goff a quarterback that can win an MVP? Probably not. But, can he captain a team into the Super Bowl. Well, yes. Would tacking on some spectacular deep balls raise his fantasy football stock? Certainly, but at the end of the game, the team with more points on the board wins the game. Forcing Goff to try to be that QB, won’t get the Rams back to the big game. We learned that last season.
The Rams are 3-1 and there’s no one saying they won’t continue to win games. That confidence has a lot to do with how Goff is playing. He hasn’t played a flawless 60 minutes yet this season, but he also hasn’t been the reason the team has lost a game. He has moved the ball down the field effectively, he has made the plays he needs to make and he has protected the ball. Goff is getting the job done.
The Bottom Line Grade: B+