LA Rams 5 regressing players who must show up big after bye week

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Jared Goff
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

QB Goff

It seemed to many that quarterback Jared Goff had worked hard enough in the offseason to deserve a fresh look as to his capabilities. But the last three games before the bye week gave enough evidence for his detractors to question those abilities once more.  In those three games, he threw for 132 passes and completed 77, for a completion percentage of just 58.3 percent. Over the same timeframe, he threw for five touchdowns and three interceptions.  He racked up 773 years, which is an average of 5.85 yards per attempt.

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This was a litmus test season for many reasons. Not only is Goff trying to overcome the ‘system quarterback’ label, but in the NFL where more and more offenses are exploiting defenses with mobile quarterbacks, Goff is a throwback to the stands-tall-in-the-pocket passer that defenses find easier to defend. With each season, his performance on the football field seemed to improve.  That held true until 2019 when Goff seemed to take a step back. He addressed that by rededicating himself to his footwork and throwing motion, which showed positive results in the early part of the season.

Future considerations

While Goff continues to rise among the ranks of the franchise All-Time passing leaders, the Rams have obligated themselves to keep Goff in as the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. He is every bit the quarterback the LA Rams need, but the Rams need to do a far better job of helping him out. Before the bye, the Rams faced two teams determined to stop the Rams passing game by overwhelming the offensive line and getting to the quarterback quickly. On both occasions, the Rams could have run two tight end sents for more protection, or simply run the ball more often to put the pressure onto the defense. Instead, the Rams went empty backfield, giving Goff no protection nor time to get rid of the ball.

Goff is much more than just a ‘game manager’.  But he’s no magician. If the Rams call plays that repeatedly call for the ball to be thrown to Cooper Kupp, but the coverage is good, is that Goff’s fault? The Rams have a dependable running game, but abandon it when it is working. The Rams have highly valued rookies, but fail to involve them in the games. The Rams have multiple talented tight ends but have remained primarily with their 11-formation.  Goff cannot get the right players onto the field. That has to come from the sidelines.

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The Rams are still in good shape. But winning does not just happen. Players need to step up to make it happen. We’ve listed five players who showed signs of backsliding this season and need to reverse course. The last eight games for the LA Rams are against some of the best teams in the NFL.  This is not a drill. Everyone needs to show up. This can be a special season for the Rams if players can get back to playing well.