No seriously, Jared Goff can be the franchise quarterback the Rams traded a principal’s ransom of picks for. It’s an uncool opinion like saying “Frasier” is better than “Friends”, mayo is the best hot dog topping, or that “Lincoln” is a top six Spielberg movie, but just because something is uncool that doesn’t make it false.
Besides Les Snead, no other Ram took more crap and at times deservedly so than Jared Goff. Goff looked like he put it together in 2018 throwing 4688 yards, 32 TD’s, and 12 picks. He made a Super Bowl and despite the Rams’ offensive performance, that lent itself to the idea that Goff had his rookie season almost expunged from his record.
In 2019, the wheels came off and once again he looked outmatched, overwhelmed, and out of his element. There are a number of reasons for this drop-off and don’t worry this won’t absolve him of his sins. The point of all of this is to demonstrate that despite all his 2019 and his contract, the Rams are still in good shape with Jared Goff.
So, the seeds for the Jared Goff dip were planted in the Super Bowl. He was 19-38 with 229 yards and a pick. The eye test is even more damning as that offense moved like Jordan Belfort on ludes. Even in the first half of the NFC Championship against the Saints, he looked BAD. But in that game, he put together some incredible throws and got the Rams back into it. He couldn’t do that in the biggest game of the year and there were some contributing factors.
That Pats defense was awesome against the pass and if the Rams had been able to make better use of Todd Gurley or any of the running backs, things might’ve been different. Now, the problem is two-fold in terms of perception.
His rookie season so tarnished his reputation that his first two Sean McVay seasons were looked at as a product of Sean McVay being awesome and Goff being a “Westworld” robot that McVay could program. No one gave him the benefit of the doubt that Goff’s contemporaries, Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz, receive all the time.
Again, Jared Goff doesn’t get a mulligan on 2019, his decision making in the midst of the rest of the offense taking a dip was atrocious. He still can’t figure out what to do when he’s pressured. In fact, he’s worse under pressure than Gil Gunderson and is worse at improv than Michael Scott. That said, his 2019 stats weren’t that different than 2018. He threw 4,638 yards (only 50 yards less), for 22 TD’s (10 less) and 16 picks (only four more).
His completion percentage in 2018 was 64.9 and in 2019 it was 62.9. So why did Jared Goff look like he forgot how to play football? Well, despite being statistically close to who he was a year ago, the running game cratered so he was asked to do more than he was capable of. Also, it should be noted that he fumbled more and whether it’s because of his little hands or just the frequency of pressures, that made him look worse.
So why is he the answer? Now the surface reason is that the Rams signed him to a 4-year $134 million extension so he better be the answer. Les Snead didn’t do Jared Goff any favors by giving him that extension at that time. Sure, on one level it was great that the organization had the confidence to move forward. However, that also became the narrative equivalent to concrete shoes because every time he had a bad game his contract would be the go-to joke. Also, if they had simply waited, they could’ve structured it differently so that the current Rams wouldn’t have to make him restructure now, kick the tires on trading Gurley, and trying to conjure cap space out of thin air.
It’d be wrong to ask Goff to take a Tom Brady style pay cut BUT they could’ve figured out a better deal. That said, Les Snead’s other cap sins only put this one in Dirk Diggler style neon lights so he had no chance to fail. But that’s all in the past.
Why is he the answer going forward other than they’re stuck with him? Well, he’s actually proven he could win in the playoffs whereas Dak and Carson have a combined three playoff games between them with zero wins. Goff is 2-2 and has a Super Bowl appearance. He didn’t get there by being a game manager either. He was damn good in the 2018 playoffs (not the Super Bowl obviously). Also, when he has blocking and a decent running game he is very effective.
As it currently sits, the Rams are in the top half in terms of Super Bowl 55 opening odds, according to this article. While the defending champion Chiefs are the favorites (+500), the Rams sit at 11th (+2500). Can Jared Goff beat the odds and get them back to the desired top of the mountain?
The Rams are going to make that their biggest priority which should make everything else fall into place. McVay hiring Kevin O’Connell as his offensive coordinator should help as well because McVay often didn’t properly assess his offense from week to week so having an extra set of eyes will put him in a better position to succeed.
O’Connell will also serve as his quarterback coach which Goff didn’t really have last year. He still showed flashes of who he was in 2018 and yes he still needs to do better when the play breaks down and he’s still making some idiotic Jameis Winston style throws, but he’s not a lost cause.
Rams fans wanted to take him to LAX and put him on the first plane to nowhere but they shouldn’t be so quick to do so. He’s not Tom Brady and never will be but he can still be a damn good quarterback. Jared Goff should bounce back in 2020 and prove he’s the guy, warts and all.