The Rams' reluctance to play Jared Goff at all is inexplicable

Shutdown Corner

The Los Angeles Rams gave up a ton of picks to draft quarterback Jared Goff first overall. The package of picks they gave up rivals any in NFL history, outside of the famous Herschel Walker trade.

The Rams also were being shut out into the fourth quarter on Sunday, the offense run by a journeyman quarterback with a negative touchdown-to-interception ratio, at risk of falling to 3-5. And for the eighth straight game, Goff never got on the field. The Rams lost 13-10.

And Rams head coach Jeff Fisher once again took the same stance he has taken all season.

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“Case wasn’t the reason we lost,” Fisher said, according to Rich Hammond of the Southern California News Group, ignoring that Keenum isn’t doing anything to help the Rams win.

Jared Goff hasn’t played for the Rams yet this season. (Getty Images)
Jared Goff hasn’t played for the Rams yet this season. (Getty Images)

Weird? To say the least.

The Rams watched Case Keenum struggle again and never tried Goff on Sunday. Keenum stacked up some yards and a touchdown in a final drive as the Panthers protected a 13-3 lead, but he wasn’t good. After a 3-1 start, they’re 3-5. Keenum had a bad, bad fourth-quarter drop from Lance Kendricks. That would have helped, of course. But if you watched on Sunday, you know how bad the Rams offense was. Again.

Keenum finished 27-of-46 for 296 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but a lot of the good in that line came on the frenetic drive with the Rams trailing by 10. Keenum has nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.

The Rams keeping Goff on the sideline each week is not a new story. The situation has been strange since the end of the preseason, when Jeff Fisher said Goff wasn’t even good enough to beat out Sean Mannion for the team’s backup job. Goff has gotten up to the No. 2 spot, but he still can’t get on the field.

And now, with the Rams’ offense stuck in park for yet another week, Fisher’s stubbornness to give Goff reps is bordering on coaching malpractice.

What Yahoo’s Charles Robinson wrote about the situation still rings true: The coaching staff and front office seem to be holding Goff back, in part, for self-preservation. They don’t have contract extensions yet. Goff is their last card to play. And if he’s exposed, that reflects terribly on everyone after the mega-trade to get him. And if Goff is given a chance and plays well now, everyone will ask why the coaching staff waited so long as all the momentum from a 3-1 start was whittled away.

It also could be that Goff is simply bad. From 2006-15, 22 of the 24 quarterbacks drafted in the first round started at least one game as a rookie. Two of the three first-round picks at quarterback this year have started a game, bringing the count to 24 of 27. The last five quarterbacks before Goff that were drafted No. 1 overall started the season opener. Goff hasn’t even played through the first half of his rookie season. It’s possible that’s entirely on him. But there has to be some reason. Almost every other rookie first-round pick at quarterback over the past decade grasps the offense well enough to start a little. We can all see Goff is not being held out because Keenum is too good to put on the bench.

The whole story has been weird. This past week the Rams insisted to The MMQB that they would not change the offense to help out Goff, who they traded so much for and should be building a franchise around. When given the opportunity immediately after other bad games, Fisher hasn’t even allowed for the possibility of Goff playing the following week. When 92 percent of quarterbacks picked in the first round since 2006, other than Goff, were competent enough to start as rookies, it’s amazing that the first pick this year can’t even get on the field at all.

You’d assume, with a terrible offense and the season slipping away after a four-game losing streak, the Rams would consider playing a rookie quarterback they thought so highly of months ago. But nothing about the situation makes much sense so far, so who knows.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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