If there’s one question major media is asking of the 2016 Los Angeles Rams every week, it’s “Why not Jared Goff?”
Calls for the rookie have only intensified among the media for the last month as QB Case Keenum has struggled to find consistent success in the Rams’ passing attack. Those calls fail, though, to acknowledge the simple basic problem.
There is no consistent success to be had in this offense.
A month ago, I laid out the history of quarterback play under Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher who is now in his 21st full season as a head coach. That history quite clearly shows that regardless of who is playing QB for him, the position will never produce output anywhere near the top half of his peers in the league and for simple reason -- he won’t have the opportunity.
Nowhere has that been made more clearly than during the Rams’ 9-6 win against the New York Jets in Week 10.
Between a playcalling approach that limited the ability of the quarterback to work downfield, personnel insufficiencies all over the field and the failure to come up with timely play execution in the red zone, the Rams offense exhibited why it is currently next to last in yards (up from last year’s 32nd ranking) and dead last in the NFL in scoring (down from 29th in 2015).
And that’s exactly why Jared Goff can’t change a thing about this offense.
It started immediately.
This is the second play of the game, a simple inside run. Look at Greg Robinson, the Rams’ starting left tackle, the #2 overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft:
Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin is allowed to fly in and stop Rams RB Todd Gurley for no gain.
Again, this is the second play of the game, a second successive run after the first went for a couple of inches more than this play. That’s the Rams trying to impart some value from their running game. Trying to establish the foundation to be able to open their playbook. And Robinson allows Mauldin to close it. Promptly. To set up 3rd and 9.
Fast forward to the Rams’ next second down play. It’s 2nd & 4 from the LA 44-yard line. A perfect time to open up and work downfield.
Instead, the Rams do this:
Huh. That seems very limited. Four targets all within five yards of the line of scrimmage.
Later on 2nd down, this:
Ok, now we’ve opened up to a whopping six yards beyond the LOS.
And again, on yet another 2nd down soon after, this:
Aaaaaand we’re back to five yards.
Look at the Jets’ safeties on these. There’s nobody anywhere near them. The Rams aren’t even trying to attack intermediate or deep. Everything is just beyond the line.
And C Tim Barnes on that last one?
That’s not going to get fixed by Jared Goff. It doesn’t matter how much stronger his arm is than Case Keenum’s. You don’t need a cannon to throw a four-yard hitch. You do need blocking. And a functional running game would help tremendously.
The Rams don’t have any of that. They’ve the luster of promise. Of unrealized potential. Of Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin and Jared Goff.
And the Rams don’t run a system that is making competent use of any of them.