Report: Jared Goff might not play in 2016

By Jesse Reed
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

It was truly surreal watching Case Keenum get gobbled up by San Francisco’s defense in Week 1 while Jared Goff walked the sidelines in street clothes. Yet that could be a regular occurrence this year, as Mike Silver of NFL Network is reporting Goff may not play a single snap in 2016.

“I know Jeff Fisher and have known him for more than a quarter century, and I know what his philosophy is,” Silver said while speaking on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “He believes – and this is the philosophy founded on the experience with Steve McNair, who was brought along slowly and had an awesome career, and others – he believes it’s better to have these guys absorb it, take a look, get thrown in in practice a little bit and then eventually be worked into the lineup. He’s doing what he believes is best for Jared Goff and for the long-term interest of the franchise, even as it possibly quarrels with what would be best for Jeff Fisher right now – because he certainly is under pressure to produce in his first year in L.A.”

Silver also shot down the rumor that Fisher had Goff forced on him, noting the quarterback from Cal has been Fisher’s target since February. He went on to say that Goff might not play a single down in 2016, even if that means Fisher’s job becomes in jeopardy — a scenario that seems unlikely, given the Rams’ loyalty to the coach thus far.

“I think ideally (Goff) might not play all year, if Jeff Fisher were doing what he philosophically believes is best,” Silver said.

What’s truly interesting is that Keenum was markedly better than Goff during the preseason. He was in control of the offense and sported a much higher completion percentage.

Goff looked bewildered in the pocket at times under pressure, finishing his preseason with a 44.9 completion rate while averaging 4.7 yards per attempt, throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions.

So, it seemed quite obvious that Keenum should start the season. In fact, throwing Goff into the fire appeared to be nothing more than a recipe for disaster. Yet, when the regular season began, the Rams were a disaster anyway, playing against a team most figure will be competing for a top pick.

Going up against the San Francisco 49ers, Keenum completed 48.6 percent of his passes for just 130 yards, throwing no touchdowns and two interceptions. Everyone watching had one singular thought: How much worse could Goff possibly be if this is the best the Rams have to offer?

One thing that emerged after the game, however,  is that the 49ers said they knew which plays Los Angeles was running based on their sets and motions (more on that here).

Regardless of the why, it’s clear the Rams are in bad shape right now offensively. Perhaps the best thing for Goff is to ensure he does not get thrown into the fire right now. Without an offensive line and any real talent at the receiver or tight end position, he’s probably better off being encased in bubble wrap on the sideline.

Which makes one wonder, did the Rams realize how bad things would be this year? And if so, why did they give up the farm — trading away a ridiculous amount of draft currency — to acquire the “quarterback of the future” without any means of giving him what he needs to thrive?

It’s going to be fascinating to watch things unfold. The Rams have been mediocre — or worse — since 2003. And it doesn’t look like anything’s going to change, any time soon.