The third preseason game is normally when the projected starters remain on the field the longest. So it was not for the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Quarterback Jared Goff only appeared in three drives and threw eight passes, five of which were completions.
If the incompletions were simply a mere overthrow or a dropped pass, I would look the other way and be more upset that we didn’t get to see more of him. But Goff’s three incompletions rang louder than any of the completions he threw Saturday night. While preseason performances should be taken with a grain of salt, the poor habits of Goff makes in the preseason should be of concern.
This play had limited options, and Goff had a good one.
TE Tyler Higbee gained separation between he and the linebacker on the deep route, but Goff under-threw him. Instead of Higbee’s shoulder, Goff threw just over the linebacker’s shoulder. It should also be noted that Goff stared Higbee down for most of the play. Although, the safety didn’t catch Goff’s glare until it was too late, better safeties will not make the same mistake.
This is one of Goff’s traits he can’t seem to shake off defenders as a passer. Going back to last season, Goff is unable to fool the safeties or corners with his eyes. This was one of the bigger contributors to his seven interceptions last year.
A pass interference penalty would set the Rams up in the red-zone and would lead to points. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be for the Rams.
Again, Goff is signaling to the defense where he intends to throw. To make matters worse, Goff wasn’t even looking in the best spot of the field. To his left, he completely misses his Z-receiver get open on the slant that would have at least resulted in a first down.
The next play, right tackle Robert Havenstein gets beaten like a drum by defensive end Joey Bosa, resulting in a strip-sack and a fumble recovery that was run back for a touchdown.
Again, it’s a preseason game. But had Goff made the better decision in the previous play (wide-open vs. heavy coverage in the back of the end-zone), the defense’s touchdown doesn’t happen.
On this play, Goff chooses to look deep down the field on first down. But for good reason, as receiver Sammy Watkins is wide-open. Yet Goff misses an easy completion by greatly overthrowing Watkins and having his pass land right into the hands of the defender more than 10 yards behind Watkins.
The argument against concern?
It’s the preseason, moron. Goff made a few bad passes in a game that doesn’t count. He didn’t even stay in the game long enough to get into rhythm.
Yes, it’s a preseason game, and his entire preseason wasn’t bad. He made five good throws last night, and even showed fairly good pocket presence in his toss to Malcolm Brown to avoid oncoming pressure.
But these are mistakes Goff has made in the regular season, and to see them appear now is concerning. The blatant stare downs and missing open receivers can kill drives, as they did in both of Goff’s. They can lose games.
The offense entire looked pretty solid. Goff wasn’t coming under heavy fire the entire night. The interception he made had pressure, but Goff wasn’t hit until after the ball left his hand. He had a running back and fullback open short on that play. In pressure situations, the best choice is to go for the easy completion.
Goff didn’t make that. He chose the big throw on a first down when he didn’t have to.
The little things count, and when they add up, it leads to an early offseason.