The preseason has officially ended, and fans have now seen more than enough of Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff to get a real feel for where he's at.
Simply put, Goff had an abysmal preseason. He never looked comfortable, regularly looking confused from the pocket. He was terribly slow with his reads, and held the ball for forever and a day. His pocket presence was often nonexistent. Throws were frequently off target, and he took some unnecessary sacks.
Sure, he was sacked at times where it wasn't his fault, but at least half of the sacks were his fault. Goff finished the preseason going 22/49 passing (44% completion) for 232 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also lost two fumbles and had two others recovered and/or go out of bounds. The worst stat might be his 4.7 yards per attempt average. He also failed to complete two games as his body wasn't holding up well to the pounding of the NFL.
It was a rough summer for Goff.
Let's be honest. If not for his draft status he wouldn't even make the team with this kind of performance. Goff would be a part of final cuts and out scrapping for scraps trying to get someone to sign him to their practice squad.
For comparison sake, let's look at some other rookies:
- Denver Broncos QB Paxton Lynch finished the preseason 40/68 458 yards for 58%, and four touchdowns, two interceptions.
- Buffalo Bills QB Cardale Jones went 29/59 362 yards for 49%, and one touchdown and two interceptions.
- Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was 39/50 454 yards 5 touchdowns no interceptions and a glossy 78% completion rate.
- Seattle Seahawks QB Trevone Boykin -- who went undrafted by the way -- went 37/71 for 303 yards and 52% completion, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
- Oakland Raiders QB Connor Cook finished 31/56 368 yards with 55% completion, and three interceptions.
- New England Patriots QB Jacoby Brissett, who no one is talking about but really shined this summer, went 38/56 passing (67.9 percent) for 387 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
The case can easily be made Goff was the second worst of the rookie quarterbacks this preseason. The only one worst would be New York Jets QB Christian Hackenberg. He finished 17/47 (36%) for 159 yards (3.3 ypa) one touchdown and two interceptions.
As mentioned time and time again, Goff has a lot of potential, but he was one of the least pro ready quarterbacks in this years draft in part because he doesn't have other tools outside of his accuracy. He's not a big quarterback that can shake off tackles and still stand tall in the pocket. He doesn't have elite arm strength to hit his target even when he can't step completely into his throw. He doesn't have running ability like some of these other guys (hence why I didn't even mention rushing stats in the performances of all these guys, because it would really look bad and unfair). When things break down, he doesn't do a good job of improvising. If he can't throw he has nothing else to fall back on. His lack of playing in anything that even resembles a NFL offense since before high is his primary downfall though.
I know what a lot of fans are thinking, Goff played with second and third stringers. Goff had a lot of drops. Goff's line wasn't that good.
Well, I'm here to tell you that those are called excuses. All of the aforementioned quarterbacks, with the exception of Prescott, played with second and third stringers the entire time. In fact, Goff had more clock with the first team guys than the rest of these rookies. All of his peers experienced drops and broken protections. Goff didn't even have the most dropped passes. That went to Boykin, who still had a higher completion rate and more yards.
Now Goff is being demoted/moved to third string QB. And while the excuses keep coming in, the guy who's taking his spot blew him out the water with third- and fourth-string players. Sean Mannion was a thing of beauty this summer, and probably about 90% of the guys he did it with won't make anyone's team this year. He also saw zero time with the starters.
So the Rams traded away their future, because they felt they were a QB away. Being a QB away were Rams HC Jeff Fisher's words not mine. Now when you say you are a QB away, it means this QB can come in and start for your team and get you over the hump (get over the hump were Fisher's words again, not mine). Now, we are a QB away from our future...
This is completely different from the Eagles and their selection of QB Carson Wentz. They made it very clear they were selecting him for the future and they want him to sit this year, even though rumor out of Eagles camp is he has the playbook down and is mentally ready but needs to be more consistent with throws (his pro readiness and progression surely played a huge role in the Eagles dealing former Rams QB Sam Bradford to the Vikings). It wasn't until after the Eagles made that trade that they said he would start when he is 100% healthy. Even then they never hyped him as the missing piece.
Goff has looked like the best rookie QB among the two worst this summer. And while Hard Knocks shows him having a stellar practice and it looks as if he was making some strong progress, sources say that has more to do with editing than actual performance as Goff's truly good practices were limited.
This isn't all to say all hope is lost and Goff has no future in the NFL. That's not the case, however he is far from the savior Rams fans hoped he'd be and he's even further from the savior Fisher hyped him up to be. At this point in interviews, he constantly talks about getting away during breaks and playing Madden. You know, being a 21-year old kid. However, judging by his current performances, he needs to use that time away to stay in his playbook. Because it was he and Rams OC Rob Boras that had this friendly exchange on Hard Knocks:
Goff: I didn't know what that one was.
Boras: Did you even know what you called?
Goff: I just called Y right instead of scram right.
Boras: I gotcha. I should have got in the huddle with you. It's on me.
Goff claims every day he's getting more comfortable in the huddle, calling the plays and running them. But comfort is the last thing we can say we've seen from him. He's made a few good throws so far, which the best has to be a quick slant to WR Brian Quick in which he made a lightning fast read and and even quick release as he hit Quick in stride. The second-best throw was the drop by WR Pharoh Cooper in the first game down near the five-yard line, which would have gone for about thirty yards. The throw on the run to WR Bradley Marquez wasn't too shabby either, against the Vikings. However, those throws came few and far in between.
The Rams need a lot more from the number one overall pick who was brought in to be the QB on a team that is only a QB away. Because right now, he's only better than Hackenberg. If you saw a Penn St. game the last two years, that's not saying much...