LA Rams will pit Goff in fierce QB competition this season
By Bret Stuter
The tempest surrounding the LA Rams‘ displeasure with starting quarterback is no longer guesswork. It’s real, and it’s out there for everyone to see. In fact, the only controversy remaining in the future is what course of action the Rams’ organization will take. After all, the path forward is not an easy task by any means. The Rams committed significant financial resources to young quarterback Jared Goff, expecting him to fulfill his half of the contract and improve.
There is certainly an argument to be made that he has failed to uphold his half of the contract. Much like the contracts signed by WR Brandin Cooks and RB Todd Gurley, the Rams do not fail to step up to compensate their star players appropriately. But when those highly compensated players regress? The Rams just as quickly moved on, with rumors of both players on the trade market in early 2020. Of course, the Rams had other players on the roster to step up.
Jared Goff does not have any competition on the roster, right now. That is why the LA Rams brought in offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to try to ‘fix” Goff in 2020. And in some ways, he did. Goff enjoyed a career-high in throwing accuracy in 2020. And in the early part of the season, Goff seemed to stand taller in the pocket, avoid the pass rush more easily, and remained focused upon throwing to the open receiver more effectively.
How real was Goff’s late-season rally?
But it didn’t last. Goff regressed once more. In his first 11 games, Goff’s interceptions and fumbles totaled 17. Over that same timeframe, Goff had thrown for 16 touchdown passes and rushed for two more for a total of 18. And he was sacked 16 times over that 11 game stretch. The result was head coach Sean McVay publicly blasting Goff for turnovers. The result of that public flogging? Goff threw for six touchdowns, was sacked 14 times, and turned the ball over just three times over the last six games.
11 games to 17 turnovers. Six games to three turnovers. But is it too little too late? Based on LA Rams head coach Sean McVay’s closing comments at the end of the Rams’ season? Yes. McVay is emphasizing the need for quarterback competition, a point that we lobbied for nearly a year ago. The Rams never added a veteran quarterback, forcing the Rams to hang on for dear life whenever Goff was simply gobsmacked by aggressive defenses.
Of course, part of Goff’s reclamation occurred after a devastating thumb injury forced him to the bench to watch as backup quarterback John Wolford played to victory against the Arizona Cardinals in the season finale. Wolford was not overwhelmingly good, but he certainly showed more composure in the pocket, did a better job against defensive pressure, and found deep receivers often enough to keep the chains moving.