The Los Angeles Rams made their long awaited return to Los Angeles this summer, and in doing so lit a fire under the franchise. Boasting a running back that is quickly approaching superstar potential in Todd Gurley, and a solid defense lead by strongman Aaron Donald, the Rams future looked bright. It seemed all the franchise needed was a quarterback. Upper management felt the pressure to make a big splash, but who thought they’d rip off their shirt and yell “cannonball” the way they did.
The Rams traded away a whopping six draft picks to acquire the number one pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
The trade included first and third round picks, and proved the Rams franchise was going all in on their return to LA. The team took California cool Jared Goff with their high priced pick. The decision wasn’t bad; he did seem like the best quarterback in the draft. Sure, he was mostly familiar with the shotgun, but Coach Jeff Fischer was positive the kid would put it all together.
HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ came and went, and Goff looked impressive in practice and workouts. He admittedly struggled in the pre-season, throwing an interception on just his second NFL possession. Goff was expected to struggle; it takes time to adjust to the audacious level of speed in the NFL. Then Dak Prescott set the pre-season on fire, throwing two almost statistically perfect games to start his career. This put pressure on Goff and the Rams as well. The questions began to circle, ‘did the Rams take the wrong guy?’ Did they make a huge mistake trading away so many draft picks?’
As the season approached, Case Keenum became the clear starter, as many had begun to expect. What was unexpected is that Goff would remain inactive in the Rams first regular season game, sitting behind 2015 third round pick, Sean Mannion. The media and Los Angeles fans had been fairly patient with Goff’s development, but the fact their number one pick can’t beat out a third rounder is more than worrisome. Had the Rams moved heaven and earth for nothing?
To Jared Goff and the Rams’ defense, it’s not time to hit the panic button yet. Did the Rams make a mistake moving so many valuable assets to acquire Goff? Probably. But hindsight is useless in professional sports, and the Rams have to make do with what they have. Keenum is a serviceable starter, and should perform well enough with the help of a legitimate stud in Gurley. Jared Goff has shown flashes in practice, and should snag the backup position by the season’s end. With any luck he will become a franchise QB in a few years. Arguments can be made that future Hall of Famers like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers benefitted from an extended ride on the bench.
Regardless of anyone’s opinion of Goff, he is the player the newly resurrected Los Angeles Rams chose to gamble their future on. While Keenum has performed well of late, he is simply a place holder for the arrival of Jared Goff. The discomfort of sitting on the inactive list will hopefully help light a fire under Goff, and perhaps send him a message. Los Angeles already fantasizes of Gurley and Goff wreaking havoc on opponent’s defenses. Ram’s fans just hope that time comes sooner than later.