Honestly, I’m kinda miffed we didn’t get to have a season with [Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff] under the spotlight. It’s turned into the Super Bowl or bust season which, yanno, is still gonna be great narrative-wise, but I kinda feel robbed a bit.
That was this author in today’s Slack chat with myself, Sosa and Tevin musing on the idea that the Rams’ Super Bowl or bust season and the expectations it has developed have replaced the development of Goff as the #1 storyline for the Rams’ 2018 season.
One of the main reasons I was so intrigued to get a season that could have been all about Goff is a growing discrepancy between how Rams fans see their franchise QB and how analysts outside the Ramily bubble do.
One of the comments on a piece here at TST on ESPN analyst Mike Clay’s statistical projections on the Rams’ 2018 outputs asked if there were six quarterbacks in the NFL you’d rather have than Goff.
Apparently, ESPN has a lot more than six.
In their updated QB Confidence Index, the Rams’ QB depth chart of Goff, backup Sean Mannion and Brandon Allen ranks...not highly.
Here’s the rubric:
This is not merely a ranking of starting quarterbacks. This is a ranking of teams based on how confident those teams are in their quarterback situation as a whole. That means it includes the reliability of the backup situation, the injury history (recent and otherwise) of the starter, the long-term plan at the position ... lots of stuff other than just which starting QB is better.
That being said, the Goff-led trio comes in at...
19. Los Angeles Rams
A year ago, Sean McVay and the Rams’ new coaching staff weren’t sure what they had in Jared Goff. They feel much more confident now, though obviously they gave Goff a lot of help last year and will work to help him advance more on his own in 2018 and beyond. The 2016 No. 1 overall pick at least looks like one at this point, and the Rams can hope that he continues to build on his successful 2017. Sean Mannion and Brandon Allen are the backups at this point.
And that’s why I feel “robbed” of a season in which we could focus on Goff’s growth as the #1 storyline. He’s just 23-years old. He’s started just 22 regular season games. His career will be defined by the football he has yet to play, not the football he already has on his resume.
But a Goff-led depth chart just isn’t inspiring many national analysts right now.
Clay had them at 17th in his projections. This list today has the Dallas Cowboys led by Dak Prescott at #10. They’ve got the New York Giants led by 37-year old Eli Manning at #13. Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr and Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston all have their QB depth charts ahead of the Rams’.
What aren’t Rams fans seeing that national analysts are? Why so loathe to buy into Goff’s 2017 Pro Bowl alternate season? Is it the lack of game-winning drives and late game heroics? A lack of a playoff win? Being outside the top tier production-wise? At least for this QB Confidence Index, Goff’s ranked below other QBs with similar low marks in those areas.
I wonder then what Goff could do to even rise in these ranks. Would another season that mimics 2017 see him in the same position? If not, if it would see him climb these ranks, it would suggest that some aren’t buying into 2017 and would need to see another year of similar play to buy into the idea that 2017 isn’t an anomaly.
Perhaps that’s what we’ll get. Perhaps something better. But I am slightly aggrieved that some of the focus of 2018 is being taken off of Goff because the Rams have gone all-in on this window. A Super Bowl victory would obviously erase those grievances.
Anything less, and we’ll likely be here in 12 months talking about the same circumstances with even more pressure to deliver and a ticking clock that will require the Rams to make a decision on their own confidence in Goff to the tune of more than $20m per year.