The Rams are moving closer to making a change at quarterback, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
Depending on how incumbent starter Case Keenum looks in Sunday’s game against the Jets, rookie Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, could make his first career start as soon as next week.
Many observers have been calling for the Rams to start Goff for weeks. Keenum has thrown more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (nine) and has an underwhelming quarterback rating of 77.2, while leading Los Angeles to a 3–5 record. The Rams, however, have been hesitant to rush Goff’s development.
“We’re not working on one particular thing. We’re really working on a number of variables,” Rams quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke told The MMQB’s Emily Kaplan earlier this month. “Could he be playing right now? Is he capable of playing in the National Football League right now? My answer would be yes. But if we’re being truly honest with ourselves, and we knew when we went through the process of drafting him, we knew it was going to take some time, and we were OK with that.”
SI.com’s Chris Burke further analyzes the situation.
So, what changed? Well, for starters, if the Rams lose this week to fall to 3-6, they’ll be all but buried in the NFC playoff race (especially with road games in New Orleans, New England and Seattle still to come). That alone would lower the pressure on Goff. Perhaps Goff really has made the progress Los Angeles has been waiting for, shifting from Cal’s “Air Raid” offense to the Rams’ scheme.
Goff was a mess in the preseason, completing just 44.9% of his passes (22 of 49). In fairness, his stats were dragged down significantly by subpar play around him, both up front and at the skill positions. Still, he never looked all that comfortable in his mechanics—Case Keenum legitimately outplayed him in August. The Goff who starred at Cal, though, showed a good arm and an excellent feel for the pocket. He had a knack for sliding from pressure but still getting the ball downfield to his playmakers.
If Weinke has Goff even in the ballpark of where Keenum is mentally, Goff’s physical tools should bridge the rest of that gap. There’s no point in sticking with Keenum if Goff is remotely ready.