Jared Goff faces the “put up” stage with Rams taking on Raiders

Rams Quarterback Jared Goff (here vs Dallas Cowboys, 2016 preseason) has the opportunity to separate himself as the undisputed #1 quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams.
Rams Quarterback Jared Goff (here vs Dallas Cowboys, 2016 preseason) has the opportunity to separate himself as the undisputed #1 quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams. /

Los Angeles Rams coaches and fans will now get the look at Jared Goff they’ve long been waiting for.

Los Angeles Rams fans have been waiting for quite some time to get a legitimate look at what Jared Goff really looks like under the hood. They will now get that chance along with the team’s mostly-new, but highly-regarded coaching staff take on the Oakland Raiders during their second preseason game of 2017.

These re-taught Rams do appear, in Todd Gurley’s words, “more locked in.” For the most part, it showed in the performances of several young players getting their first raw crack at professional competition Week 1. On Saturday, they’ll need to be more locked (preferably, onto the ball), loaded, cocked and ready to fire. Two major questions linger in both the output at the quarterback position and notable improvement of the offensive line. They must improve inside the next two first halves of preseason to instill confidence heading into the regular season.

First off, Goff gets needed extended playing time over the next two games, and that seems to be the plan at the moment.

Goff is to play approximately the entire first quarter against the Raiders, plus a series or two, depending on play count and opportunities. The following week, Goff is expected to play the entire first half plus the same or a slightly increased amount of series in the second. Don’t expect an MVP type showing against Oakland. Los Angeles needs ample experimentation for pass timing and run-blocking scheme perfecting. The new stud’s been in the barn for only a week so there are limits. Head coach Sean McVay is no rookie at formulating game plans, but working with new players is bound to result in some non-productivity.

Acquiring new go-to receivers like Sammy Watkins makes quarterbacks drool the night before game days in dreams. If Goff doesn’t over-think, he need only throw the ball in Watkins’ area code opposite the defender the majority of time. It’s exactly what he’s being taught. We’ll see if he trusts the process.

The Raiders have dawgs that’ll be coming after Rams quarterbacks, but their secondary is suspect. Cooper Kupp should have yet another chance to shine across the field at least as Goff’s safe outlet. But what I’m excited to see is another positive showing from rookie tight end Gerald Everett. Current eye tests tells me he starts this season, and eventually makes his way to being a top 10 tight end sooner rather than later. Rookie receiver Josh Reynolds’ contributions are also on the wish lists of many as well.

In my humble opinion, the Rams will certainly get a chance to gel by air. The Raiders will make the Rams’ run success difficult with up and coming linebackers Marquel Lee and Cory James. The tandem combined for 13 tackles against the Arizona Cardinals last week in the first half alone. They’re quick, instinctive, plug holes well and like the Cardinals, the Rams’ offensive line allows penetration. Meanwhile, Goff has to prove his defense scheme-reading skills are on the permanent upswing. In McVay’s checkdown-friendly system there are no further excuses.

With what’s going on – or not – with the Aaron Donald situation, general manager Les Snead certainly deserves credit for stepping up his off-season game. Coach McVay has been provided with what he and Los Angeles fans hope is an early but stretched Christmas. Undrafted free agents are having moments in the spotlight and don’t be surprised when a few (that’s more than two) make the final cut.

The jury remains out on whether or not the Rams filled the void left arguably since the Kurt Warner days when scoring around 20 points was considered to be an off day. It will officially go unsaid, but every new offensive coach craves drafting their own prototype quarterback. And in spite of Goff’s improvement, calls for backup Sean Mannion to start continue one year later. Nothing less than standout performances against the Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers will silence Mannion’s minions. The time is now and unless the offensive line is completely overwhelmed there are no more reasonable excuses.

Related Story: Los Angeles Rams release depth chart heading into preseason Week 2 against Oakland Raiders

As for the game’s outcome, SportsbookReview.com shows the Raiders are favored by four points at home. Unlike last week, I won’t be stepping out on the limb Week 2, but still feel good about the Rams’ chances should they lead or be close mid-third quarter. Turnovers are the annoying fly buzzing everyone’s eardrums, but expect more scoring from the Rams this week against the Raiders.