Five ways the LA Rams strategy failed to deliver in 2020
By Jay Blucher
1. No alternative to starting Jared Goff – even with a broken and dislocated thumb
The entire quarterback depth chart seemed bonkers from the start of training camp. In a season with a high number of season-ending injuries, and the risk of a positive COVID-19 test shutting down a player for two-three weeks, the Rams quarterback depth chart was:
I – starting quarterback Jared Goff – 4 year veteran
II – backup quarterback John Wolford – 1 year veteran, never played in a regular season NFL game
III – practice squad QB Bryce Perkins – undrafted free agent, no preseason snaps
Recently signed to a futures contract as both a backup and to add some possible QB competition to the mix was Devlin “Duck” Hodges from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Unfortunately, from the late-round positions the Rams will be drafting at in 2021, most all of the top tier quarterbacks will be long off the board. What’s available will be a plethora of immobile statue pocket passers with questionable accuracy – not what the Rams need. Of course, with a fine eye, a bit of luck, and some patience, there are some rookies who could develop into Goff’s replacement in time.
The Rams finally did sign quarterback Blake Bortles to the roster when Goff broke and dislocated his thumb in the 15th game of the season. But Bortles arrived too late, and by the Wild Card round, and after an early injury to quarterback John Wolford, a swollen-thumbed Goff was back in the game.
For what it’s worth, blaming a person is a cheap and easy absolution. But blaming the process forces a solution. If Goff was the problem, why would the Rams ignore a competent running game to route most of the offense through the passing arm of a bad quarterback? If the social media views of Goff are indeed accurate, and Goff was responsible for the losses this season, why didn’t the coaching staff alter the game plan to run more, pass less, and rely less upon Goff to prevent him from screwing things up? They did exactly that against the Patriots with overwhelming success.
Again, the goal is not to assign blame, nor to shift the blame from one person to another. The objective is to point out oversights to the 2020 strategy that should be corrected in 2021.