Pro Football Focus has been working through the different position groups and rankings them ahead of the 2016 season, and the results regarding the Los Angeles Rams are far from inspiring.
Here’s how they see things:
Starter: Jared Goff
Backup: Case Keenum
Key stat: 58.8 percent of Goff’s yards gained last season came in the air rather than after the catch, a figure that would have ranked in the top 10 in the NFL.
Jared Goff is the QB of the future for L.A. The only question is how long Rams fans have to wait to see it. He was the highest-graded QB in the nation last season, and even when pressured, had an NFL passer rating of 87.1, but his college offense was not exactly pro-style, and there may be an adjustment period before he is ready to start. If he isn’t, Keenum will get a chance to add to a career that is only 942 snaps old, but has seen some bright spots. Last season, he started five games, and outside of a poor first start against the Ravens, graded well.
WR & TE: 32nd
Projected starters: WR Kenny Britt, WR Tavon Austin, WR Brian Quick, TE Lance Kendricks
Key depth: WR Pharoh Cooper, WR Mike Thomas, WR Marquez Bradley, TE Tyler Higbee
Key stat: Tavon Austin has graded higher as a runner than as a receiver every single season since entering the league.
This isn’t an ideal welcome to Los Angeles for Jared Goff (California), with—in our opinion—the lowest-ranked group of wide receivers and tight ends in the NFL waiting for him. Lance Kendricks dropped four of the 29 catchable passes thrown his way last season, and doesn’t look ready to be the team’s top tight end, so it may not be long before Tyler Higbee (Western Kentucky), who had the fifth-highest receiving grade among tight ends in college a year ago, takes his spot in the starting line up. At wide receiver, Tavon Austin has graded higher as a runner than as a receiver in every season since entering the league. He can make people miss in space, though, forcing 19 missed tackles on 52 receptions, and 14 on 52 carries a year ago. Kenny Britt is the default top receiver on this roster, but had more drops (five) than touchdowns (three) a year ago.
Projected starters: LT Greg Robinson, LG Jamon Brown, C Tim Barnes, RG Rodger Saffold, RT Rob Havenstein
Roster depth: Isaiah Battle, Andrew Donnal, Garrett Reynolds
Key stat: The Rams’ projected starting offensive line has played 230 snaps together.
In 2015, the Rams loaded up on offensive linemen in the draft. They hit on Rob Havenstein, but they are still waiting for the rest of their younger linemen to develop. In the short-term, they might be better off finding someone else at left tackle and starting Garrett Reynolds, but instead, it looks like they will stick with their younger linemen for now and see if they can reach their potential.
That’s, uh...well, there it is.
The question fans should be asking is two-fold.
First, it’s one of belief. I’ll leave it up to readers to form their opinions of PFF based on other readings and not this one alone as it likely isn’t the rallying cry many would want to hear. But how much stock do you put into PFF’s analysis?
The second question is one of intent. Whether or not you buy into’s PFF’s evaluations, to get this kind of assessment going into year five with Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher and General Manager Les Snead, you have to wonder what they’re trying to build on offense. The excuses of what was handed to them in 2012 are reaching too far back in the calendar to legitimize this output. Snisher have had numerous opportunities to build a competent offense. To this point, not only have they not. They’ve done quite the opposite. They’ve made the offense worse by every nearly every metric. To accomplish that after four years is rarely what summons contract extension discussions.
But as Rams fans sit in mid-July with less than a month to go to training camp, all we are left with are questions.
If PFF’s analysis suggests anything, it’s that we might not like the answers.