I was walking around this morning and one thought kept bouncing around my head: Why does Jared Goff suck now?
The Los Angeles Rams are going into a wild card playoff game and the media are suggesting head coach Sean McVay should start an undrafted free agent in John Wolford, who in his past was once cut by Adam Gase.
How did a 2-time Pro Bowler and former Super Bowl starting QB end up in such a confusing situation? To find this out I've been examining Goff's complete development cycle looking for reasons for peaks and valleys and trying to identify which of the valley's are reoccurring right now.
Jared Goff, The Los Angeles Rams #1 Overall Pick
In 2016 Jared Goff a California kid who had a consensus first round grade playing at a well known and respected Californian NCAA college team in Berkley where he showcased great signs of being potential Franchise Quarterback. Jared Goff was PFF's highest graded college quarterback in 2015. One quote in the draft report sighted his pocket presence as being a major strength, "Moves in the pocket to find passing lanes, keeps his eyes up while maneuvering the pocket". In many way Goff was a dream draft pick for the Rams who were making a return to southern California.
It didn't matter that fellow draft prospect Carson Wentz had the more impressive raw tools. Goff was a business move as much as a draft pick. The Rams were trying to break into a market that contains 2 Premier NBA teams, one prestigious baseball team and many other sports franchises fighting for attention in the city. The Rams traded with the Tennessee Titans for the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, along with a fourth and sixth-round pick in the same draft. To acquire the picks, the Rams traded away their first-round pick, two second-round picks, and a third-round pick in 2016, and their first and third-round picks in the 2017 NFL draft. That was quite the haul and quite the investment on a rookie QB. The planning going into Jared Goff's rookie year was very detailed and impressive everything after was stunningly disappointing.
2016 The Lost Year Of Development For Jared Goff
Jared Goff's rookie year was a nightmare due to mismanagement and a poor team around him. The offensive line allowed too many pressures and he was careless with the football trying to make plays for what was a struggling team. Jared Goff achieved the following his rookie year;
An 0 and 7 starting record.
5 touchdowns against 7 interceptions across 7 games.
An 18.3 QBR(Graded out of 100).
In many ways Jared Goff was the worst quarterback of 2016. For the LA Rams who had made a significant investment in Goff through draft assets and the marketing budget this was the worst case scenario, the were trying to break into a new market and their lead marketing face was either on the bench or sucking it up on the field.
Jeff Fisher deserves a lion share of the blame for Goff's poor play. The veteran coached recognized early that Goff while talented was clearly not ready to start games at the NFL level. He had Goff do a crash course on his scheme as he failed to handle the media storm that generated as to why the #1 overall pick could not beat out Case Keenum as starting Rams QB. Many labeled the young QB as one of the biggest NFL draft busts of all time as he struggled through 7 straight loses(his 49ers and Falcon games were especially terrible) never showing any of the poise and talent that made him a stand out draft prospect. The worst thing to come of this nightmare scenario was that everyone knew coach Fisher and his staff would be let go at the end of the year yet Jared Goff still spent a lot of precious development time studying, practicing and playing in a scheme he would never play in again. The LA Rams a year into the investment had to make drastic moves to save what was quickly becoming an embarrassing decision by the franchise.
2017; Emergency QB Surgery
The LA Rams assembled an offensive staff full of brilliant and innovative minds of varying experience to oversee the growth of their young franchise QB. Sean McVay was only 30 when he was hired to be the new Rams head coach but had past working experience under offensive gurus Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden. McVay was a young and innovative offensive mind whose first job was to fix what many considered damaged good at the time. To further help McVay with Jared Goff was new Rams Offensive Co- Ordinator (current Green Bay Packers coach) Matt LaFleur, Quarterbacks coach(current Las Vegas OC) Greg Olsen, Running Back coach Skip Peete had 18 years of NFL coaching the position at the time of his hiring, current receivers coach Eric Yarber had been a WR position coach for 17 years at the time of his hiring, the assistant wide receivers coach Zac Taylor would go on to be the head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer had 18 years of experience coaching the position.
This dream team offensive staff that contained 2 future NFL coaches and one offensive co-ordinator married with a 2017 offseason where the team reloaded in the draft through picks such as Cooper Kupp in the third, free agency moves such as bringing in Franchise left tackle Andrew Whitworth, Center John Sullivan and wide receiver Robert Woods.
All these moves fit under the Rams cap space as Jared Goff was still on his rookie QB deal. The rams went from a bottom tier NFL franchise with a bust starting to an 11 and 5 team with a really bright future all over 24 months.
Jared Goff hiding behind Tyrod Taylor in the middle of the chart went from a certified bust to about NFL league average thanks to the massive support he received from the organization.
The Golden Year 2018
In 2018 the Rams capitalized on Goff's rookie contract by going all in that year, they aggressively assembled a talented and deep roster, went 13 and 3, had the NFL's 2nd highest scoring offense. McVay's passing and running units were both top 5 in terms of yards respectively. Jared Goff posted numbers signifying he was taking the step forward from average to good in his 3rd year;
It was well established that the team ran through 2017 OPOY Todd Gurley but Goff's development was a major source of pride for the entire organization and despite a shaky Super Bowl performance the franchise felt comfortable extending the young QB early into the 2019 NFL season with a 4 year 134 Million extension. 2 years down the line sadly that has proven to be a mistake.
2019 and 2020; An Average QB
Over the last 2 years Jared Goff has been aggressively mediocre. The Rams starting Quarterback has thrown 29 interceptions in his last 31 starts. It's impossible to be bad in the brilliant offense Sean McVay runs but God knows Jared Goff has tried. A scheme which features 3 receivers who routinely get open (Edelman types) struggles to move the ball, what?!? As the franchise has relied more on him over the last few years due to Goff's contract forcing them to trim the fat off their cap space the QB's play has declined. Jared Goff seemed to be a potential Franchise QB but has shown an inability to carry the franchise on his own. Franchise QB's are the foundation upon which teams build their identity and the rams are as inconsistent and non threatening this year as their Quarterback.
2020; Why Does Jared Goff Suck? The Dream Offensive Staff Is No More
In 2017 Jared Goff had hands on development from a very gifted group of coaches, 2 have gone on to be Head Coaches while others have found jobs at other prestigious NFL franchises. As they have left no one can blame Sean McVay for failing to maintain this absurd standard of offensive brilliance. The more that's been put on McVay's plate the more he has asked from his starting Quarterback and Goff has consistently failed to bail his head coach out. Many of Mahomes signature plays come after the initial play has broken down and he has to come up with something quick to move the chains. That's the difference between a guy and "the guy".
Jared Goff sucks now cause he always has, the Rams spent a small country's GDP on talent around him to make sure he turned out into a franchise QB and over the last 3 years his delivered 1 borderline top 10 season and two other mediocre seasons. The brilliance of the Rams organization, Sean McVay and the various play callers to pass through turned Jared Goff (a certified bust at their point of arrival) into an above average NFL game manager and an NFL starter.
That's as far as it seems Jared Goff is able to go thus he is holding the franchise back and is simply not worth the investment anymore. He doesn't even have a Carson Wentz near MVP year to justify the Rams sticking through tight rope thin for him. Jared Goff was a great idea but what's really out there peaks at about above average to good. If the Rams are serious about establishing themselves in the LA market a new franchise QB is a must.Published 08 Jan 2021, 11:33 IST