Is LA Rams QB Goff a franchise quarterback?

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

After a poor performance in Super Bowl 53, LA Rams quarterback Jared Goff regressed even further in the 2019 season. Does Goff deserve to be the Rams’ franchise quarterback?

Fate rewards the bold. But does it favor the anointed? That is the question we pose to the Los Angeles Rams over the status of their quarterback Jared Goff. After all, the Rams can only go as far as Goff’s arm can take them.  And the results in 2019 have been less impressive than fans expected after the team showed up to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 53.  The very next year, the Rams didn’t earn a spot in the 2019 NFL Playoffs.

But some have argued the Rams never did show up for SB 53. At least, not quarterback Jared Goff. In fact, USA Today’s Steven Ruiz made a strong argument that Jared Goff was neutralized by the New England Patriots’ disguised coverage throughout the game.  That was a strong indictment from a national level sports writer. So strong, in fact, that the Rams likely needed to reformulate their offensive playbook to restore the confidence to a shaken Goff.

The offense did not do so. As a result, the Rams offense scored 14 fewer touchdowns, rushed for 700 fewer yards, and attempted 64 more passes in 2019 compared to 2018 (statistics per While that certainly seems to be a team with every bit of confidence in their quarterback, the results cannot be denied. The Rams failed to make the 2019 NFL playoffs.

Reverse logic leads to reversed fortune

Well, it’s clear that the 2019 season struggles centered around an overwhelmed offensive line.  The offense not only ran for 700 fewer yards, but it rushed for 58 fewer attempts. After the poor showing from the Superbowl, the Rams should have depended LESS upon Goff’s throwing arm to succeed, not more.  But the offensive line struggled mightily to open up running lanes.

Still, this is not a question of offensive line struggles. They sometimes do. Nor is this a question of successful rushing offenses. Sometimes defenses stack the box with defenders. The question truly boils down to can the Los Angeles Rams win games on the strength of quarterback Jared Goff?

Ultimately, the Rams offense must focus on a balanced offense.  In a year when the offense needed to give Goff more help, the opposite occurred. And so, the magnificent running attack of the Rams never truly developed in 2019. The defense, led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald, suffered slightly as the Rams suddenly were no longer able to control the game clock with their ball-control offense.

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Some comparison shopping

Can the Los Angeles Rams count on the young quarterback Jared Goff to pull the team through?  In other words, can Goff lead the offense with his passing arm?

So far, his production gives a strong yes.  For the second straight season, Goff has passed for over 4,600 yards through the air.  That’s a lot of passing yards. That sprang from an NFL leading 626 passing attempts. In fact, for his first four seasons in the NFL, Goff has tossed the ball for 14,219 yards on  62.4 percent accuracy. He’s thrown for 87 touchdowns and just 42 interceptions. That’s good enough to compare to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

So when compared to his peers overall, Goff holds his own.  Still, something isn’t quite right with the Rams offense which dropped in points scored from 478 points in 2017, climbing to 527 in 2018, and then plummeting to  394 points in 2019.  While that’s concerning, it’s certainly fixable.

Help the guy out

No quarterback can “will” his team to victory. In that line of thinking, Jared Goff may not throw for 5000 yards in any given season for the LA Rams.  But on the other hand, he can absolutely keep the defense honest.  With a solid corps of receivers, he has demonstrated a knack for heaving the ball downfield among the best of the NFL.

The trick is to give him a solid running game to work the run-pass-option (RPO) plays which have been the bread and butter for the Rams offense in recent years. In 2019, the Rams offensive line struggled mightily to open up running lanes. In fact, 2019 resembled the Rams 2016 offense which only generated four wins more than either the 2017 or 2018 offense.  You see, in 2019, the Rams rushed for 1,499 yards, while their opponents eclipsed that amount by rushing for 1,809 yards.  For the RPO Rams offense, that is unwelcome news indeed.

Next. 3 challenges LA Rams must address this offseason. dark

To do so, the Rams must rework that offensive line.  The team suffered numerous losses in 2019 simply by the offensive line being tossed around at will by their opponents. And fixing an offensive line is not a snap-your-fingers type of project.   With much of the attention towards retention of skill players on offense, and defense, the team will be forced to rely heavily upon the 2020 draft to find depth and potential starters for the line.  While that is certainly a topic for another day, the need is real.

Goff can certainly be the franchise quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams for years to come. But like every item of value, the team must take the right steps to ensure that happens.  This off-season, the front office must restock the offensive line with significant talent. The coaching staff must reconfigure the playbook to emphasize a balance between rushing and passing.  Finally, the Rams offense must return to a punishing rushing attack identity. When all three happen, the Rams will dominate the NFC West, and the NFL, once more.