I was on Twitter the other day and saw something infuriating. I mean, isn’t that what Twitter is for? To raise one’s blood pressure and get into ridiculous arguments that are absolutely pointless since it is not even a true debate forum as most people (in the comfort of their living room behind the safety net of the 5-inch glass screen of their phones) just berate one another and turn opinion into idiocy. However, there are a few instances when a sports post will spark a cognitive conversation, and while the outcome primarily remains the same, the process at which you reach that outcome is somewhat fun, respectful, and invigorating. Well, this was not one of those instances.
However, the post that I saw did spark the idea for this article. With some research and some logic, and think that we can come to a reasonable, unbiased conclusion that hopefully, the majority of us can all agree on. But hey, if not, please comment below and let the debate rage on!
Where Do Rams Position Groups Stack Up Against The Rest Of The NFC West?
So I guess the easiest way to do this would be to rank each position group, so for the sake of ease of readability, that is what I will do. This will be a weekly series, and each week will feature a different position group in the NFC West. First up:
Anyone that still thinks Russell Wilson is not an elite quarterback has not watched many Seahawks games. What Wilson lacks in height, he has in every other skill set. He has the big arm, accuracy, touch, mobility, athleticism, leadership, poise, etc. Here’s a fun fact, since coming into the league in 2012, Wilson has never had a losing season. Now he may not have the eye-popping Drew Brees passing stats, but he is the perfect compliment for what Seattle does on offense.
Seattle is a run-first team, but Wilson keeps teams on their toes with his passing ability, which allows for the run game to be so successful. Everyone remembers how special Marshawn Lynch was during his days with Seattle. Obviously, he was a gifted running back with a ferocious running style, but some of his success must be attributed to the play of the quarterback, which in Seattle, during the best years of his career, was Russell Wilson.
What makes Wilson even more special is his ability to beat you with his legs. Just when defenders think they have him swallowed up in the pocket, he is able to escape for a big gain. Last season he had a career-high 35 passing touchdowns, to a career low, seven interceptions. Russell Wilson is elite, and at this point, still the creme of the crop in the NFC West.
2. Jared Goff
Alright, Rams fans. I know that you hate the Seahawks, and Goff has continued to improve each year, but I cannot at this point in his career, put him ahead of Russell Wilson. However, he is gaining ground and is leaps and bounds ahead of the next two.
For starters, let’s go ahead and throw Goff’s rookie season out the window. He was a rookie with the weight of “first-overall pick” on his shoulders thrown into a horrible lose-lose situation with head coach Jeff Fisher at the helm. So let’s go ahead and move past that.
Statistically speaking, his previous two seasons have been nothing short of remarkable. He finished with 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2017, and 4,688 and 32 touchdowns in 2018, good enough for 4th in yards and 6th in TDs in the entire NFL. He finished each season with seven and 12 interceptions, respectively.
Goff may lack the running ability and elusiveness that Wilson possesses, but that does not mean that he is not athletic. He is able to escape the pocket and avoid pressure when necessary. Now, I would not exactly call this his strongest asset, but the ability is there, and he has flashed it numerous times.
I will be doing a simultaneous weekly film series breaking down different Rams players each week, starting with Jared Goff. So much more analysis on him to come! But for the sake of this article, he currently rests as the second best QB in the NFC West.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy G is a tough guy to analyze. He shows flashes of absolute brilliance, but the sample size is so small that I am nowhere near ready to anoint him as the next great quarterback of the legendary 49ers franchise. After being traded to the 49ers from the Patriots in 2017, he eventually took over the reins, going 5-0 in the five games he started, ending the season on a high note and leaving fans excited for what was to come in 2018.
Now we all know the unfortunate circumstances of Garoppolo tearing his ACL just three games in and missing the remainder of the year, but lets really take a look at those first three games.
After signing a very lucrative contract and being heralded as the unquestioned starter and franchise QB in San Francisco, Garoppolo got off to a rocky start. In week 1 of the season against the Minnesota Vikings, Garoppolo finished the game 15-33 for 261 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in a 24-16 loss. Now the numbers obviously are not good, but he never really looked comfortable and threw a bad pick-six in the third quarter.
In week 2, he improved his completion percentage and did not throw any interceptions in a 3-point victory over the Detroit Lions. Week 3 saw the Niners clash with the Kansas City Chiefs, where SF fell behind to KC 35-10 at the half. Garoppolo improved in the second half, making things interesting, but was ultimately lost at the end of the game for the season with a torn ACL.
So with last seasons shaky three games (718 yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions), the prior seasons five games, and two games in 2016 for New England, that brings his total games started in the NFL to 10.
As I said, Jimmy G has flashed some brilliance and looks to have what it takes to be a viable starter in the NFL, but 10 games are not enough to crown him any higher than the third best QB in the NFC West.
Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals
The 2019 first-overall pick is the talk of the town currently, but that doesn’t mean he should be ranked any higher than 4th in the NFC West considering he has yet to play a down. For a first round QB that is expected to start immediately, he is walking into a situation that is as good as it possibly can be, which is strange to say considering how bad Arizona was last season. The Arizona Cardinals total offense ranked dead last, last season averaging 14.1 points per game and 225 yards of offense, so it can only go up from there. Kliff Kingsbury was hired as the new head coach in the offseason and he will implement is “Air-Raid” style offense that will fit Murray’s skill-set perfectly. Will this offensive scheme work in the NFL? We have seen glimpses and wrinkles of it over the past couple of years, but it has yet to have a full implementation. However, it is the opinion of this writer that if Murray is to succeed, at least in the beginning of his career, his will have a much great opportunity running this offense, as opposed to a more traditional, old school scheme.
There is no doubt about it, Kyler Murray was special during his one season at Oklahoma. A Heisman Trophy-winning season at that. He threw for 4,361 yards with 42 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. And add on 1,001 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns to boot. A remarkable season to say the least.
Kyler Murray is special, and definitely has the talent to be successful in the NFL. But to say the defenses he will now face are better than the ones he faced in college is an understatement. Big 12 defenses don’t exactly draw comparisons to the ’85 Bears.
His playing style is electric and he can make plays in the pocket and outside of it, but it will be up to his head coach to out-scheme NFL defenses week in and week out in order for Murray to be successful early on. Going into next season, this list has the potential to look different, but for now, with no NFL experience, Kyler Murray must start from the bottom and work his way up.
Join the debate below and let us know how you would rank the NFC West Quarterbacks! And make sure to Join the Delegation so that you receive each new NFC West Rankings article in your inbox!