Can LA Rams manage the inherent risks of the COVID-19 outbreak for Jared Goff with one backup QB?
The LA Rams endured so many injuries in 2019, but quarterback Jared Goff remained unscathed. Unscathed as in uninjured. But there is a new threat to the LA Rams quarterback in 2020, and it’s not something the offensive line can prevent. It’s the potential contraction of Coronavirus, and the quarantine required for an NFL player until he no longer tests positive.
That could take several weeks or more. And if that happens to any NFL starter in the 2020 regular season, it’s bound to cause havoc. That would place the LA Rams season, for however long, into the hands of backup quarterback John Wolford. While that may go much better than planned, who backs up Wolford?
Re-review Rams quarterbacks?
Perhaps it’s time to dust off those articles discussing the Rams quarterback situation for this year once more? After all, the circumstances for the 2020 NFL season are unlike anything we’ve faced before. What type of modifications to the active roster will the NFL allow for the season due to COVID-19? Or will the league simply enter the season like business-as-usual, good luck to any teams whose players are adversely impacted by contracting the disease during the season?
However the league addresses the unique circumstances for this season, the LA Rams must be realistic. A 16 game season extends 17 weeks or four months. If the Rams season is successful, it could last two more months. Can the Rams, or any NFL team for that matter, ignore the risks of losing their starting quarterback for a month or more due to contracting Coronavirus? No, they cannot.
Quarterback competition takes center stage
The LA Rams quarterback situation suddenly takes center stage in light of these new 2020 circumstances. Right now the Rams offense is led by fifth-year quarterback Jared Goff. While that is nothing new since 2017, the real changes begin immediately behind him on the depth chart. The Rams no longer have a veteran quarterback to back up Goff. In fact, the team has decided to go with a very inexperienced John Wolford as the primary backup quarterback. While Wolford had a solid preseason in 2019, he has not had NFL game experience.
But behind him? The Rams have an open competition between two undrafted quarterbacks: Bryce Perkins and Josh Love. Perkins is the dual-threat darling out of the University of Virginia, and Love is the four-year pocket quarterback who did not hear his name called because he was a small school hurler in a deep quarterback class. While both quarterbacks are immensely talented, neither can realistically be expected to start an NFL game in 2020.
Time to re-sign Bortles or sign Newton?
We haven’t been shy or quiet on the matter. While there will come a season where the Rams will no longer need the insurance of a veteran at the quarterback position to back up Jared Goff, 2020 is not the year. And we urged the Rams to sign a veteran backup quarterback as soon as free agency died down. Even after the original list of five backups had been picked over by other more prudent NFL teams, we once more urged the Rams to offer an opportunity for Cam Newton. We even pointed out the challenge of not bring back Blake Bortles.
The LA Rams have a limited time to act. Has the team done enough to back up Goff at quarterback? Realistically, no. In the face of an uncontrollable risk that can be addressed by having sufficient depth on the roster capable of starting an NFL game today, the team has opted to develop two, if not all three, remaining quarterbacks on the roster for the future. That is sending mixed signals. If the Rams are truly in the playoff hunt for 2020, the quarterback position should resemble that of a team capable of winning with the backup, or even the backup’s backup. Right now, the Rams appear to be rolling the dice unwisely that Goff can remain uninjured, and more importantly, unimpacted by COVID-19, through the entirety of the 2020 season.