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Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff: Was the trade worth it?

Andrew Liptock

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It’s been two full seasons since the Rams “mortgaged the future” for a chance at a franchise quarterback. Jared Goff did not come cheap, but it seems that he was well worth the investment thus far.

Chapter One: The Trade
The Rams sent a boatload of draft picks to the Titans for the #1 overall pick back in 2016 (detailed below). This seems like a lot to give, but the necessity of a franchise quarterback these days cannot be overstated. Draft picks tend to get overvalued to those who are not in the war rooms these days, but Les Snead was confident it would be the right move in the long run and knew exactly who he wanted.

Rams received:
2016 1st rounder (#1): Jared Goff
2016 4th rounder (#113): Traded down for Pharoh Cooper and Mike Thomas
2016 6th rounder (#177): Temarrick Hemingway

Titans received:  
2016 1st rounder (#15)
2016 2nd rounder (#43)
2016 2nd rounder (#45)
2016 3rd rounder (#76)
2017 1st rounder (#5)
2017 3rd rounder (#100)

On the Titans’ side, you have to consider this a win. Without going into two much detail, they emerged with enough picks to fill out their roster and make themselves a playoff team in 2017. Jack Conklin, who was selected in the first round in 2016, was a first team All-Pro as a rookie before coming back down to earth in his sophomore season. The jury is still out on Derrick Henry, although they seem reluctant to hand him the keys, and Corey Davis has the potential to be a true number one wide receiver. So how can the Rams possibly win the deal if the Titans won?

Well, they were in two completely different situations. The Titans already had their franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota and needed to fill out the talent around him, while the Rams needed that guy to lead their offense. They were able to get a few depth players and a Pro Bowl kick returner out of the deal as well, but this trade was fully dependent on whether or not Jared Goff would pan out.

Chapter Two: The Rookie
Goff began his rookie season as the third string QB on the roster. That’s right, third string. Jeff Fisher felt he was not even ready enough to be the backup for week 1 of the regular season. This could be because he wasn’t as pro-ready as some of the other quarterbacks in the draft or could have stemmed from the fact that Jeff Fisher may have been forced into drafting him. Reports came out that Fisher preferred to keep his draft picks as he thought the team was a lot closer than the front office did and wanted more players. Soon enough, Goff went from a third stringer to the starter. If the kid wasn’t ready at the start of the season, throwing him into the worst offense in the NFL doesn’t seem like a great decision. The rest of the year, Goff looked panicked. He was slow identifying blitzes and struggled with his pre-snap reads, but his huge potential flashed in spurts. Take his first touchdown pass against the Saints for example below. With a clean pocket, Goff delivers a perfect pass right over the shoulder to his receiver in the end zone. Not only was the ball perfectly placed, but he threw his receiver open.

When he was on, he was great, however it’s completely understandable for a rookie to become shell-shocked after being thrown into a bad offense. He finished the year without ever getting in the win column, and every analyst out there was ready to give up on the 22 year old first overall pick. After a loss to the 49ers on December 24, 2016, he said “It’s hard in the locker room, it’s hard for all of us, but I promise you guys it will get fixed. I’ll give everything in my heart and soul to get it all fixed.” Luckily, he had a little help from a new head coach.

Chapter Three: The Mcvay Era
Fast forward to his second season. Sean Mcvay brought in a brand new offensive system and Goff shined, leading the Rams to a division title and their first playoff appearance since 2004. It was also their first winning season since 2003. Goff and company took the worst offense in the league in 2016 to the best in 2017, a feat that has never been done before in the league. It’s easy to give most of the credit to Mcvay, from the acquisitions he made to the system he ran, but Goff looked like an entirely different quarterback compared to the previous season. The flashes of upside in 2016 became the norm and his ability to fit passes into tight windows, both short and deep, was a thing a beauty. An example is his most well known pass of 2017 to Sammy Watkins on Thursday Night Football

Many people give all of the credit to Watkins on this play and call it a day, but that was an absolutely perfect throw. Not only does he put enough air under the ball, but he puts it in the only place where his wide receiver can make the play and nobody else. Another credit to Goff is the lack of a clean pocket, as the pressure was closing in on him quickly. He finished the regular season with a QBR of 99.2, which was the 7th best in the league among qualifying quarterbacks. In addition to that, it was the 3rd highest rating by a Rams quarterback in franchise history, with Kurt Warner’s “Greatest Show on Turf” days holding three of the top four.

Mcvay and Goff had a clear chemistry, and the coach worked perfectly on progressing his franchise signal-caller. It was working so well that the media tried to create something out of nothing by criticizing their dialogue at the line of scrimmage by saying it was unfair to communicate that long. The headset cuts out for every team with 15 seconds left on the playclock, even the Rams. Mcvay worked with Goff to identify packages and when to audible, but as the season went on, he let the QB have more and more freedom. He has said that Goff’s improvement reading coverages and recognizing defenses will only come with experience, but praised his poise and leadership. That is how you development someone. A story came out about Mcvay sitting next to Baker Mayfield on a flight, where the coach told the future #1 pick that he would trade the farm for him “if he didn’t already have his ride or die” in Goff. It’s hard not to be excited about these two.

This next season will be Goff’s third in the league, however he will also have his third quarterbacks coach to work with. The man who previously held that title, Greg Olson, was hired to the Raiders staff as an offensive coordinator in the offseason, and assistant receivers coach Zac Taylor was promoted to fill the position. He was previously the Dolphins quarterbacks coach and spent time at Offensive Coordinator at the University of Cincinnati. Goff doesn’t see an issue, saying that everything will be fine, although I’m not sure he would come out and say otherwise. We’ve seen other players struggle when having to start out a career working with a few different coaches, however this is Mcvay’s offense and it should roll into 2018 without missing a beat.

The jury is still out on Jared Gof, but if last season was any indication, Rams fans should be more excited than ever for the future. If his improvement continues to trend upward, the Rams should be able to get that playoff win that slipped away from them last year.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Liptock is a lifelong Rams fan dating back to the early 2000's. Raised as a St. Louis Cardinals fan by his father, he chose to pledge his allegiance to the Rams over the hometown Eagles. His all-time favorite Ram is Steven Jackson, because of the way he played the game and his team first attitude. Andrew graduated from Penn State and is a diehard Nittany Lion fan. He has a passion for helping rescue animals by fostering and his hobbies include playing flag football, going to the gym, and plenty of fantasy football. You can find him on Twitter @AndrewLiptock.

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