The Rams have played half their season, eight games. And Jared Goff, who they made the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, has yet to take a snap that counts.
He has had time to learn this offense, to see the game planning for the week. He has seen all of the different variations of the plays they run, the checks, everything. He’s on the sideline. He has a tablet in his hand. He’s talking to Case Keenum, who has started every game.
At some point you have to throw him in there.
All they’re doing, really, is getting Case more experience for no reason.
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Now, they’re not technically out of it at 3-5. I get that, and anything can happen. But if you’re talking about the end goal for a football team, I would sit in meetings with (former New York Giants coach) Tom Coughlin and the end goal was always to win the Super Bowl. It wasn’t to make the playoffs; it wasn’t to have a decent season. That should be every team’s goal and the question always is, “How can we make this team either this year or next year a contender for the ultimate prize?”
This year or next year, with Jared, the answers point in the same direction.
Their defense is good enough to win right now – they’re seventh in the league in total defense. On offense, you have Todd Gurley; you have a decent offensive line. And you have a first-round pick on your sideline. Maybe he can go in and your offense can get a little spark. Maybe you can get to 8-8 and win your division.
You have to get him in there and get him some experience. The more games he plays this year the better he’s going to be next year, because next year he’s your quarterback.
David Carr on Jared Goff
Beyond that, you have to get him in there and get him some experience. The more games he plays this year the better he’s going to be next year, because next year he’s your quarterback. Case is not going to start next year. They’re just spinning their wheels with Case now at this point. Get Jared in the game. If he struggles, well, Case has struggled also. But at least you’re gaining experience for a guy you drafted to be your franchise quarterback down the line.
The only reason I think you would not play him – and this is what we don’t know and won’t know until we see him on the field – is how far behind is he?
I think he could be significantly behind, and it’s not because he can’t do it on the board. I think he can probably draw up everything you want him to draw up. I think he knows it. But it’s one thing to know it and it’s another thing to go out and execute it. I know, just from my experience. I knew it before I went in and played against the Dallas Cowboys in my first game. I knew everything that we had to do. Executing it was a different scenario, because I had never really done anything similar to that. We’re taking seven-step drops. We’re throwing the ball down the field. There are some option routes everywhere. Yes, I knew what those options were, but it’s a different thing to get your body set up to make that throw and go through things that you’ve never really done before.
The differences between what he ran at Cal and what he’s asked to do in Los Angeles are completely different. He has never been taught, “OK, you call this play in the huddle – you’re going to run it. If they play a single high safety, if they drop down and try to bring some run support, you’re going to check to a pass and that pass is going to be a single-high defense beater and your read progression is X, Y, Z.” It’s a completely different system and he has never done that.
The only thing that’s holding me back and fully saying Jared Goff has to be playing right now? I just don’t know how far behind he is.
In the preseason, they don’t even get into that stuff. They just run their base offense and he was behind in that. He didn’t look great then, let alone what he would do now in a pro-style offense where you go to the line of scrimmage and there are multiple checks and run checks and so many of the things you have to do. You have to line up the offense correctly; you have to get them going to the right guy. You have to identify the front. It’s endless.
That has to be the main reason they’re holding him out. They don’t think that it would be a positive outcome. But I go back to, “You drafted the guy.” Every other quarterback drafted last spring seems to be playing and playing pretty well.
That’s the only thing that’s holding me back and fully saying Jared Goff has to be playing right now – I just don’t know how far behind he is.
But we’re not going to know that until we see him go on the field and try to execute the offense.
Question of the week
From Jack Boogaard: With games Sunday morning (on the East Coast), Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, Monday and now Thursday night, how does a team prep for an average week and then how does it change for an away game or for a Monday or a Thursday?
With the travel, the normal day to leave is Saturday after your walk-through for a road game no matter where you’re going unless you’re a West Coast team going to the East Coast. That’s when it changes and they’ll go out on Friday. That will give you a day to get acclimated, wake up at a semi-normal time on Saturday and then you have another full day to recover, and hopefully on Sunday you wake up and you’re refreshed and ready to go. From the travel standpoint, that’s how that works.
From a game plan standpoint, if you have a Thursday night game, you come back in (after playing on Sunday) and on Monday the first half of the day you’ll spend on the game before. If there are corrections to make, sometimes they’ll do that and you’ll get a light workout in and by lunch you’re over it. You break and you come back for a meeting in the afternoon and you get right into what would be a Wednesday practice. Your Monday is like a Wednesday of a normal week. Tuesday is like a Thursday and then Wednesday before the game is a hybrid between a Friday practice and a Saturday walk-through.
When you have a short week like that, you try to carry over as much as you can from the last week. It’s not going to be basic, but a lot of your third-down packages and red-zone stuff, you might tweak it some, but there’s going to be a lot of carry-over. In a normal week, your entire offense can change with shifts and motions and what you want to do conceptually. There can be an 85 percent changeover on a normal week. You take that on the flip side and it can be an 85 percent carry-over on a short week. The hard part is if you get a defense or an offense for that matter that is vastly different than the team you played the week before. If you get a team that’s a 4-3 even front and you play another team that’s a 4-3 even front, it’s great. But if you get something that’s kind of a cookie cutter, like John Fox is a 4-3, pretty basic, and then you go play Rex Ryan where they bring eight or nine guys from everywhere, on a short week, that can be a lot to handle. You come in and look at the film and think, “Oh, man, I have three days to get ready for this?”
David Carr is a former Fresno State quarterback, NFL No. 1 draft pick and Super Bowl champion. Now he’s an analyst for the NFL Network and writing a weekly column in collaboration with The Bee’s Robert Kuwada. The column is sponsored by Valley Children’s Hospital.
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