Late in the game versus the Carolina Panthers (3-5), Los Angeles Rams (3-5) fans called for their No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff.
L.A. Rams fans chanted, “We want Goff.”
The chants came as the Rams dropped their fourth consecutive game. They generated just 191 yards in the first three quarters and lost 13-10.
Yet, the L.A. Rams have still not played their No. 1 overall pick from the 2016 NFL Draft. The Rams traded a package of NFL draft pick to the Tennessee Titans for the No. 1 overall pick in April. Goff did not even suit up for the first couple of regular season games.
Instead, they have stuck with fifth-year pro Case Keenum at quarterback. Keenum ranks in the bottom five of the league for QBR, value per play, and total value, according to Football Outsiders. Pro Football Focus also gave Keenum terrible grades in the last two games.
Keenum also has the second-most interceptions in the league. The Rams offense has also scored the least amount of points per game (16.3) this season.
Still, the NFL website’s Ian Rapoport reports that the L.A. Rams will not play Goff until Keenum’s performance collapses or the Rams fall completely out of playoff contention.
In the preseason Goff completed 22 of 49 passes for 232 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Otherwise, his only meaningful snaps with the first team came during the bye week.
CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora says he has yet to hear from a scout or executive who can defend the Rams not starting Jared Goff. So why is Goff not playing?
1. Jared Goff will make Fisher look bad
La Canfora reports one executive who said that Fisher is in a lose-lose situation. If Goff plays good, everyone will say he should have played earlier. If Goff plays bad, then people will question the Rams trading up for him in the NFL Draft.
Furthermore, the New York Times points out that chants for Goff will only get louder because fellow rookies Carson Wentz, Jacoby Brissett, Cody Kessler, and Dak Prescott have all shown great flashes at various times this season.
Hence, Fisher will look bad if quarterbacks selected after Goff play better than the No. 1 overall pick. This will not be good for Fisher who is due for an extension.
2. L.A. Rams do not have enough talent around Jared Goff
Former NFL defensive lineman Chris Canty said Goff should not play because of the offensive line. Canty said the Rams should not play Goff as long as the offensive line struggles, according to Sports Illustrated.
The Rams offensive line ranks 19th in adjusted sack rate, which gives per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance, and opponent. Los Angeles also ranks No. 24 in adjusted line yards, which ranks run blocking for offensive line per Football Outsiders. Therefore, the offensive line is not good at run blocking or pass blocking.
Nonetheless, former No. 1 overall pick David Carr writes that the more games Goff plays this year, the better he will be next season. Carr writes that Jared Goff could be significantly behind, which is why his team continues not playing him. Carr points out that no one will know how far along he is until he goes onto the field and tries to execute the offense.
This is important to note because Carr played Game One, after being drafted No. 1 in 2001. He took 76 sacks in his rookie year due to expansion team talent blocking for him. However, Carr makes the argument that Goff can only learn to execute by actually playing.
3. Jared Goff is not that good
Another former NFL player said the Rams made a mistake by drafting Jared Goff. Hall of Famer Chris Carter said the L.A. Rams know Goff cannot play.
Additionally, L.A. Times beat reporter Sam Farmer questions what the Rams have to lose by starting Goff. FiveThirtyEight gives the Rams a less than 5 percent chance to make the playoffs in their most recent model. Therefore, playing Goff may not hurt their chances at the playoffs.
Farmer writes that Case Keenum will be a free agent after this season, while Goff is the future of the franchise. The organization drafted Goff because they fell in love with him during the draft.
He also writes that the team may lean more on their No. 29 ranked running game if Goff plays. Farmer adds that the rookie should manage the running attack and complete some passes down the field. That is what the Rams believed they bought when they drafted Jared Goff.
4. The Rams have a plan for Goff
Fisher told the Ventura County Star that the franchise is taking their time with the rookie quarterback.
“We’re being patient,” Fisher said. “When we feel it’s the right time, he’ll be under center.”
The Daily News‘ Vincent Bonsignore writes that Jared Goff will not see the field until Fisher believes he is ready. This is the blueprint Fisher followed to bring along quarterback Steve McNair when Fisher was head coach of the Houston Oilers
The Rams coach has repeatedly said he is pleased with Goff’s progress and Keenum’s play. Bonsignore points out that Fisher is convinced Keenum gives the Rams the best chance to win. The Rams also appear unified on the plan, according to Bonsignore.
Fisher already confirmed that Keenum will start in the Rams’ upcoming game. However, he did not rule out Goff.
“He’s going to play,” Fisher said of Goff. “Whether it’s the following week, or the following week, or what have you, it’s eventually going to happen.”
The Rams play their next game versus the New York Jets (3-6) on Nov. 13. Nonetheless, Jared Goff should become the starting quarterback for the Rams soon. The L.A. Rams cannot hide behind phantom playoff chances and Case Keenum much longer.
[Featured Image by Jae C. Hong/ AP Images]