Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher no longer has to answer questions about when Jared Goff will get his chance. Ready or not, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft will make his first NFL start Sunday.
Jared Goff will make his first NFL start Sunday at home vs Miami Dolphins, per @mortreport. Goff tries to give Rams postseason push.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 15, 2016
Fisher said Monday night that Goff remained the No. 2 QB, however, so it’s unclear what prompted the change in the following 12 hours. The Rams face the surging Miami Dolphins on Sunday at the Coliseum. This also will be his NFL debut, last having played in the preseason, which largely was a struggle for him. After starting the season as the Rams’ No. 3 QB, Goff elevated to backup status behind Case Keenum.
Despite the Rams sitting at 4-5, Keenum has failed to lead a TD drive in two of those victories, including in Sunday’s 9-6 win at the New York Jets. On the season, Keenum has completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,169 yards with nine TDs and 11 interceptions. In his past three games, Keenum has only two TD passes and five interceptions.
The Rams are dead last in the NFL in points per game at 15.4 and in first downs at 17.4 per game. Todd Gurley has struggled to run the ball, and the Rams have not generated enough of a passing game to help him out or compensate for it.
Goff has had to sit by and watch rookie quarterbacks such as the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott and Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz mostly thrive. Other rookie quarterbacks also have started, including the Cleveland Browns’ Cody Kessler, the Denver Broncos’ Paxton Lynch and even the New England Patriots’ Jacoby Brissett.
One big reason the Rams have held Goff back is that he roundly struggled in the preseason, completing 22 of 49 passes (44.9 percent) for 232 yards, two TD passes, two interceptions, four sacks taken and two lost fumbles. He often looked unsure of himself while running the offense, although he was working with the second- and third-team offenses (but also against second- and third-team defenses).
Regardless, it’s now Goff’s chance to prove his and the Rams’ doubters wrong. He has had to adapt from Cal’s “Bear Raid” offense to more of a traditional, under-center scheme with the Rams, and Fisher consistently has said the rookie would play when he was ready. But now the No. 1 pick in the past draft can show he is up to the stiff challenge with the Rams back in the playoff hunt, albeit with a lot of work to do.
Goff’s schedule is not easy. After facing the Dolphins, winners of four straight, the Rams play their next four after that against contending teams, with three of those on the road. They go to the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots in Weeks 12 and 13, respectively, and follow that up with a home game against the division-leading Atlanta Falcons and a Thursday night game at the Seattle Seahawks.
Good luck, kid.
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