Los Angeles Rams Quarterback Jared Goff has yet to escape his terrible rookie season of 2016.
In his debut campaign, Goff delivered plenty of turnovers, errant throws, and took a lot of sacks. To be blunt, Goff’s first season was a nightmare. But one of the more recent stats revealed might be the most terrifying for Rams fans.
Football Outsiders recently released their Quarterbacks and Pressure 2016 article, and things did not look good for Goff.
There are two related things I continuously point out. One is that is not all of the pressure Goff saw was the offensive line’s fault. He simply struggled mightily against the blitz with just identifying it and knowing what to do. Teams knew this, and they exploited this weakness unlike ever before. The other is that QB Case Keenum played in the same offense behind the same line with the same receivers and the same coaching staff...and the outcome was completely different.
FO had this to say;
It is time that we talked about Goff, a true Hollywood horror film. With or without pressure, his DVOA was the pits of 2016. Now the fact that he had the highest pressure rate of any quarterback since 2010 (40.4 percent) might draw him some sympathy, but let's consider the fact that teammate Case Keenum's rate was only 21.2 percent, ranked sixth in the league. The Rams had four offensive linemen play at least 893 snaps last year, so there was not a massive decline in talent and continuity when Goff took over. Defenses blitzed Goff more than Keenum, but there was not a huge difference. It is more likely that the rookie just got a bit confused at times, mixing up where the next pass-rusher was coming from with where the sun was going to set.
Those numbers represent a massive difference in performance. It’s actually quite scary to think that the future of your franchise struggled that much. Things got more interesting once they dove into what Goff did when he faced zero pressure. This is actually where the nightmare starts and seemingly never ends.
However, one of the absolute best stats in judging whether or not a quarterback can cut it in this league is DVOA without pressure. Some crazy results can happen under pressure, but you expect the quarterback to do well when given a clean pocket from which to operate. This is where Goff's season -- and granted, it was seven starts on an offense that has been barren for years -- gets really scary. Since 2010, no quarterback had a worse DVOA without pressure than Goff's -45.2%. In fact, it was not even close.
In all sincerity I never knew it was possible for someone to play that bad without reason. Goff’s -45.2% makes Brady Quinn’s 2012 season look like any of Tom Brady’s seasons. But, where there’s darkness, there’s an opportunity for a glimmer of light to be a hero.
Enter new Head Coach Sean McVay:
If we dropped the requirement to 100 passes, that would bring up a holy trio of awfulness in Ryan Lindley (2012 Cardinals), Tyler Palko (2011 Chiefs), and Caleb Hanie (2011 Bears). It also includes Kirk Cousins in his 2013 season, and he has at least made something of himself in these last two years for Washington. It is worth mentioning that new Rams coach Sean McVay took over as Cousins' offensive coordinator in 2014. However, one name out of two dozen is a major problem. If a quarterback can't reach at least 10.0% DVOA without pressure, he just might not be capable of starting in the NFL. Ambiguous Hollywood ending: Goff has a long way to go.
Washington QB Kirk Cousins was pretty bad once upon a time, but then McVay got his hands on him. Not to give all the credit to McVay as Washington HC Jay Gruden probably has more to do with his turn around than McVay, but it would be naive to think McVay had no role. Now, he gets the opportunity to show just how good he is at developing a QB with the Rams in Goff.
Technically speaking, Jared Goff was one of the worst quarterbacks to take the field in at least the last 15 years. It didn’t matter what his circumstances was, because as this data supports, even when things where all right and set up for him to actually succeed, he failed to take advantage.
My benchmark for his progression has remained the same all offseason — Goff will improve, but it’s basically because he can’t really get any worse. However, in no way am I expecting some miraculous turnaround and he suddenly becomes a Pro Bowl QB. As I have said before, at best we should expect to see something similar to what Case Keenum gave as the starter.
The odd thing about all this, is Goff playing on the same level as Keenum did between 2015 and 2016, would qualify as a massive upgrade, and it’s an upgrade that any person should be happy to see.