When the 2016 NFL Draft was closing in on us, all anyone could wonder is which quarterback would go first. There were some that were in love with Carson Wentz and it is understandable why. He was big, mobile, had a good head on his shoulders and an arm. Plenty NFL teams drooled over the potential of what he could be. And the other guy that people were talking about was Jared Goff. The quarterback out of California was touted as the top draft pick since before his junior year started. But there were some questions about him as a player. As time went on, there were a few trades that happened and eventually the Los Angeles Rams ended up with the first pick in the draft. The choice was in their hands and they were not going to let anyone know what the choice was until it was almost time to make the pick. Would it be Wentz or would it be Goff? Well, the Rams made their choice and they picked the kid from California, Jared Goff. And ever since the preseason, we have not seen him touch the field at all. And as soon as he saw him not starting, the clock went off on when he would eventually be chosen as the starter. Well, now is apparently that time.
The Rams finally named Goff the starter for the Rams and deemed ready to start and lead this team. But what can we expect from him as the starter? Well, one thing we can look for is a guy that will be gunshy. Goff got to play some in the preseason and we saw that he was still adjusting to the speed of the game. And if the preseason was fast to him, you know the regular season will be supremely fast to him. So what you can expect from him is to hold on to the football a little longer. One thing he probably has not learned enough yet is what is open and what is not open. In college football, open means that you have a step or two on a defensive back or linebacker. And consequently, it is an easier throw to make for the quarterback. But in the NFL, there is a new definition of open. The definition of open there is at most a step on a defender. This means the windows are tighter and the coverage is better. And it also means that you have less margin for error. Goff is not regarded as having a strong arm, so he will have to learn how to anticipate throws and get the ball into throwing windows quicker. In the early going, it may not be pretty as he learns those nuances. But as time goes on, the Rams hope that he learns how to anticipate throws when receivers are open.
Along with learning when players are open, Goff still has to learn more about defenses. So far in his career, he has been watching from the sidelines. He saw NFL defenses in the preseason, but those defenses were largely vanilla. What he can expect is plenty of teams to try to confuse him. They could have linemen moving all around, standing up and linebackers and defensive backs standing up in gaps. At that point in time, it can be overwhelming for a young quarterback when trying to figure out what is going on. What you can expect from him early on is for him to miss some of those blitz pickups and assignments. And if that happens, he will more than likely find himself looking up at the sky a bunch after being sacked. But as time goes on, he will learn how to point out where the pressure is coming from. The better he gets at that, the easier it will be to shift the protections. And along with that, the easier it will be to change or alter plays and find your hot routes. The quicker he learns that, the better he will be and the more the Rams can throw on his plate. And the faster he learns, the more the Rams can open up the offense and become more than the offense that goes from side to side all game long.
Honestly, Goff should have probably started from the first game. Case Keenum did ok, but if they had started Goff from the first game, they would have known more of what they had and he would be more advanced on his learning curve. But alas, the time is now and Rams fans get to see what they future holds. Goff may not have the strongest arm, but there was a reason he was the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. Now we find out what the Rams saw in him to make him their quarterback will be seen. For their sake, it better be good.