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Rams expect No. 1 pick Jared Goff will defy Air Raid QBs' shaky NFL history

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  • Rams expect No. 1 pick Jared Goff will defy Air Raid QBs' shaky NFL history

    Rams expect No. 1 pick Jared Goff will defy Air Raid QBs' shaky NFL history
    April 30, 2016


    Despite the Air Raid approach used by Cal, Jared Goff was responsible for checking off at the line, changing protections and using his judgment in other ways some quarterbacks in similar systems don't. RON JENKINS , THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    By RYAN KARTJE / STAFF WRITER

    Over the course of a three-year career at Cal, in which he shattered school records with video-game stats, carried an offense otherwise devoid of talent through a football renaissance, and rocketed to the top of the NFL draft, Jared Goff took exactly one snap under center.

    It was a third-down pass, last season against Washington. It fell incomplete.

    Perhaps, in the grand scheme of what made Goff worthy of the draft’s No. 1 pick, this seems like an extraordinarily minor detail. Coaches rave about how he “checks all the boxes,” and in terms of natural tools, it’s hard to dispute their claims. His accuracy, especially on throws outside the hashmarks, looks effortless. With preternatural instincts, his calm navigation of the pocket is otherwise unheard of from prospects his age. His poise and intangibles, forged through two difficult losing seasons in Berkeley, seem to foreshadow a franchise quarterback-in-the-making.

    “He has a skill set that is special,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “He sees things, has a quick release, understands the QB position and he gets rid of the football. When you look at his body at work, it’s impressive.”

    But about that one snap ...

    Spread concepts, such as those in Goff’s collegiate offense, are hardly a new trend in college football. Over the past five years, the number of snaps collegiate quarterbacks have taken under center has plummeted by more than 40 percent. And at Cal, where Coach Sonny Dykes has installed his version of the “Air Raid” offense, quarterbacks operate pretty much exclusively out of a no-huddle, up-tempo, four-wideout, shotgun look that relies heavily on the pass to spread out defenses.

    Pioneered by longtime Kentucky coach Hal Mumme and current Washington State coach Mike Leach, the Air Raid is known to produce high-scoring games and head-turning stats in order to disguise other inefficiencies, and that was certainly true at Cal during Goff’s tenure. Last season, Goff threw for 300-plus yards in 10 of Cal’s 13 games and three or more touchdowns in eight, in spite of a patchwork offensive line and serious lack of weapons.

    What the Air Raid isn’t known for is producing viable NFL quarterbacks.

    Among the reasons to question the Rams’ move to wager the future on Goff, this is perhaps the most alarming. Since 1999, when another Air Raid product, Kentucky’s Tim Couch, went No. 1 overall to the Browns, only two true Air Raid quarterbacks were selected in the first round, before this draft. Both – Johnny Manziel and Brandon Weeden – are now considered colossal busts.

    The rest of the Air Raid’s recent history in the NFL is, more or less, a graveyard of failed quarterbacks. Only Rams quarterback Nick Foles, who ran an Air Raid offense at Arizona, owns a career QB rating of better than 80. But when asked to play under center in St. Louis last season, even he devolved into arguably the NFL’s worst starting signal caller.

    The most encouraging recent example of an Air Raid transition to the NFL might actually be the guy who took Foles’ place, Case Keenum.

    But the reality with Air Raid quarterbacks has been bleak: None has lasted more than seven seasons in the NFL.

    Why this is the case is far less clear. Some argue that the progression-based system on which the Air Raid is predicated makes the quarterback’s job easier than usual in college, setting them up for a rude awakening in the NFL. Others suggest navigating the adjustments that come from snapping under center – with footwork, pre-snap reads, and the like – are drastic, sometimes insurmountable changes.

    Leach, however, rejects these premises. As one of the godfathers of the system, he takes issue with the NFL’s bemoaning of spread quarterbacks.

    “The entire idea is ridiculous and absurd,” Leach said. “The best opportunity to succeed, I think, No. 1, is to throw as many balls as possible and read as many defenses as possible.”

    Dykes, on the other hand, understands the concern from an NFL standpoint. But while other quarterbacks put up eye-popping stats because of the system, Dykes is certain that Goff’s skill set and measurables – like Couch – far surpass that of the usual Air Raid signal caller.

    Of the recent quarterbacks who went on to succeed in the Air Raid, only Couch, former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, and Jets quarterback Geno Smith were more touted as high school recruits. Rivals slotted Goff eighth among pro-style quarterbacks in 2013, in spite of his then-sinewy, 178-pound frame. The measurables, even then, were apparent.

    “I don’t know that many Air Raid guys in the past have fit that (NFL) mold as well as him,” Dykes said.

    More than typical Air Raid quarterbacks, Goff was trusted with making pre-snap reads, which, to Leach’s point, should prove valuable for his transition to the NFL. Depending on the defense’s alignment, Goff said he was firmly “in control,” with the responsibility to shift protections, audible to a run or alternate pass play and call individual hot routes for his receivers.

    It’s what happens after the snap, though, that has the Rams brass convinced Goff can successfully transition to a pro-style offense.

    Few were as poised in the face of a near-constant rush as Goff, who was under pressure on 124 dropbacks last season. On those snaps, he was sacked 27 times and was intercepted three times, while completing an impressive 46 percent of his passes. Meanwhile, the other quarterback selected atop the draft, Carson Wentz, completed only 28 percent of his passes under pressure.

    In the red zone, Goff might actually be the most successful quarterback the Air Raid has seen. Last season, he threw 28 touchdowns with zero interceptions and completed nearly 60 percent of his attempts inside the 20-yard-line. Of NFL quarterbacks who threw at least 70 passes inside the red zone in 2015, only Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins and Philip Rivers proved that accurate.

    On a third-down play against Texas last September, both of these principles were put to the test.

    As soon as the ball was snapped from the Texas 7, the pocket collapsed and defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway nearly wrapped up Goff. But he evaded the tackle, rolled out to his left – his weak side – and delivered a laser past a defender and safely to his wideout at the edge of the end zone. It’s a scenario that played out again and again over Goff’s final season, often with the same jaw-dropping result.

    “There’s a natural instinct to anticipate, to get the ball out quickly, read coverages quickly, get to the second and third reads quickly,” Rams general manager Les Snead said. “There’s some DNA that just comes naturally. Whether you’re in an Air Raid offense or not, you notice that special quality in players.”

    Even with that unique ability, the questions about Goff’s adjustment to a pro-style offense, in light of recent history, are certainly founded. The Rams ran more plays under center than any team in the NFL last season, and there’s no indication they plan to change that. In 2013 and 2014, the Rams had the second-fewest combined dropbacks in the league.

    Goff is well aware of this unseemly history and the fate that awaits him in Los Angeles. Since declaring for the draft, he has practiced exclusively under center. He estimates it took him just “a few days to get used to it.”

    “It’s just muscle memory,” Goff said confidently.

    Maybe for Goff, with his instincts and his commanding pocket presence, it will be that simple. Maybe the Air Raid’s lack of success in producing quarterbacks is simply a product of the lesser quarterbacks often tasked with running the system.

    Either way, with so much at stake and just one snap of under-center experience, the Rams and their new franchise quarterback better hope that history isn’t doomed to repeat itself.


  • #2
    The rest of the Air Raid’s recent history in the NFL is, more or less, a graveyard of failed quarterbacks. Only Rams quarterback Nick Foles, who ran an Air Raid offense at Arizona, owns a career QB rating of better than 80. But when asked to play under center in St. Louis last season, even he devolved into arguably the NFL’s worst starting signal caller.

    The most encouraging recent example of an Air Raid transition to the NFL might actually be the guy who took Foles’ place, Case Keenum.
    But while other quarterbacks put up eye-popping stats because of the system, Dykes is certain that Goff’s skill set and measurables – like Couch – far surpass that of the usual Air Raid signal caller.
    It's a bit ominous to think Foles and Keenum are the best of what the Air Raid has produced in the NFL, and I'm not sure why Couch's skill set is being touted by Dykes, considering his very mediocre NFL career.

    That said, I'm extremely confident that Goff, with his poise, quick thinking, pocket presence, and skill set, will break the mold and become a very successful NFL QB.

    Comment


    • #3
      It's the same situation as spread WRs. Their production often masks their inabilities. They don't run NFL routes so they have to learn them - can they? They rarely run block anything close to what you'll see in the NFL. The short crossing route is a staple and they rarely have to worry about getting leveled by an ILB because the defense is in a dime package.

      If you haven't seen the guy do something, you just don't know how good he is at it. So many OTs get labeled as having poor footwork and they drop in the draft, if the QB never showed you his drop back footwork, you don't know if it's going to be good or bad.

      RGIII ran the spread offense and if you believe Shanahan, couldn't learn his NFL offense. When they went to the playoffs with him, they were operating the Baylor offense. RGIII partially lost his job because he simply couldn't learn or operate a standard NFL offense - you just don't know.

      Greg Robinson is the same reality. He operated out of a very non-NFL type offense and has struggled with the transition.

      Comment


      • #4
        Seems like a legitimate concern. Why do we think this QB will be different?

        Comment


        • #5
          Just because they come from the spread doesn't mean they won't work. Alex Smith almost certainly came from a spread offense. Every Oregon QB, Brees, Cam Newton, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlesburger if I recall correctly? It seems to me those teams adjusted to the style the QB was used to running. I'd say the author underestimated the numbers of successful spread QBs.

          edit: having said all that, it seems to me people love the potential of a spread QB because they've shown flashes of greatness and can see it on film. Their accuracy is often less accurate when put into a non-spread offense. Spreads generate wide open receivers and it's one of the reasons spread WRs fail in NFL traffic. Look at Austin - just can't get the separation that was so easily attained in the spread.
          Last edited by Dreadlock; -05-06-2016, 11:57 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bltkmt View Post
            Seems like a legitimate concern. Why do we think this QB will be different?
            “There's a natural instinct to anticipate, to get the ball out quickly, read coverages quickly, get to the second and third reads quickly,” Rams general manager Les Snead said.“There’s some DNA that just comes naturally. Whether you'’re in an Air Raid offense or not,you notice that special quality in players.”
            Your question certainly has validity. That said, think about what made Joe Montana such a great qb. It definitely wasn't arm strength, it was his ability to process what was happening on the field in warp speed compared to most other qbs. He was a tick ahead of everything. A most maddening trait at the time for us Ram fans.

            Obviously the proof will be in the pudding, so until then (regular season) we'll just be speculating. It will be an interesting year for sure.



            Comment


            • #7
              I'd say the attributes are questionable. Is Goff really better than Bradford or Joey Harrington? I don't think it's possible to really know at this point. We won't know if Goff is great a year from now either. Lots of QBs fail year one and then succeed or do great year one and then fail (RG3). Look at how the Chargers let Brees walk - bizarre but would he be the player he became if not for Payton?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MauiRam View Post
                Your question certainly has validity. That said, think about what made Joe Montana such a great qb. It definitely wasn't arm strength, it was his ability to process what was happening on the field in warp speed compared to most other qbs. He was a tick ahead of everything. A most maddening trait at the time for us Ram fans.

                Obviously the proof will be in the pudding, so until then (regular season) we'll just be speculating. It will be an interesting year for sure.
                Great points, We don't know if Goff will pan out, but his history of putting up huge numbers, making quick decisions, keeping his cool under extreme situations, and innate ability to avoid pressure (in the face of routine poor protection, and a poor supporting cast), make him a good bet to succeed in the NFL.

                I have every confidence his intangibles will make a difference, and I can't wait to see him change negative perceptions.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am not at all concerned that Goff will be like Weedon or Manziel.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My concern is whether Goff can adapt to taking snaps under center and running the offense from there. Different footwork altogether from what he's used to..
                    :helmet:

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post

                      Great points, We don't know if Goff will pan out, but his history of putting up huge numbers, making quick decisions, keeping his cool under extreme situations, and innate ability to avoid pressure (in the face of routine poor protection, and a poor supporting cast), make him a good bet to succeed in the NFL.

                      I have every confidence his intangibles will make a difference, and I can't wait to see him change negative perceptions.
                      How concerned are you about Goff taking snaps under center though?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Think that Goff will be with the #1 team or whatever they are called on day 1 of the REAL training camp.
                        Carolina Panthers @ Denver Broncos 2/7/2016 CBS 6:30PM EST Santa Clara CA!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JPPT1974 View Post
                          Think that Goff will be with the #1 team or whatever they are called on day 1 of the REAL training camp.
                          If he's not, it will be very disappointing. I don't think too many are excited about Keenum possibly being the starter.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by R8rh8rmike View Post

                            Great points, We don't know if Goff will pan out, but his history of putting up huge numbers, making quick decisions, keeping his cool under extreme situations, and innate ability to avoid pressure (in the face of routine poor protection, and a poor supporting cast), make him a good bet to succeed in the NFL.

                            I have every confidence his intangibles will make a difference, and I can't wait to see him change negative perceptions.

                            Agreed, ditto to both observations. Also, Goff / Rams, higher and sooner aerial expectation than Wentz / Eagles.
                            Last edited by RealRam; -05-10-2016, 08:20 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If The Rams plan to play Goff the way they did Foles/Keenum, he will struggle significantly,imo. I think the gaggle of rookie pass catchers and Groh's hire indicate that they intend to adapt to Goff as well,though. Groh has talked about his scheme being based on the Gase/Peyton offense implemented in Denver,so I think those who've wanted to see the Rams open up the pass game will get their wish. Hopefully Goff will get his play action down quickly enough to use Gurley to full advantage as well & protect us all from a Peyton-like spate of interceptions in his rookie year as he learns to read NFL defenses from under center,turn his back,& read it again at a glance. The Bear Raid had him doing more than a pure Air Raid but it's still going to be challenge for The Goffling.Read Greg Cosell on the subject.

                              If it works , The Rams will have a versatile offense that can beat you every which way. Not gonna happen over night, though.

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Cal QB Jared Goff has skills, NFL-ready talent to warrant being Rams' No. 1 pick
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Cal QB Jared Goff has skills, NFL-ready talent to warrant being Rams' No. 1 pick

                                April 16, 2016


                                Updated April 17, 2016 10:43 a.m.


                                1 of 1
                                California quarterback Jared Goff looks for an open receiver against Air Force during the first half of the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 29. Goff's pocket presence is considered one of his strengths. RON JENKINS, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS



                                As far as college quarterbacks go, Jared Goff is not among the most decorated.

                                He racked up gaudy numbers, but did so in an Air Raid-styled spread offense. He was never in serious discussion for any major national awards and had to share his All-Pac-12 first-team nod this past season. He finished with a career record of 14-23.

                                None of that, however, should prevent the Rams from drafting him No. 1 overall over North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz at the end of this month.

                                “I went into every game thinking I’m the best player on the field,” Goff said last summer. “Because I think you have to.”

                                He was reflecting on his 2013 debut at Cal, when he became the first true freshman quarterback in program history to start a season opener. That first campaign in Berkeley was miserable, with the Golden Bears winning just a single game under new coach Sonny Dykes.

                                But to those who would knock Goff for not being a “winner,” consider this: The 21-year-old is already mentally prepared for the hardships of an NFL transition. He is unlikely to see his confidence shaken by even the worst losses, unlikely to be fazed by the pressure of being anointed the savior of Los Angeles pro football.

                                He also checks off several other boxes, having improved his passer rating by double digits in every season. CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler and NBC Sports’ Josh Norris both rank the Bay Area product as the more attractive prospect, as does Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller said in a recent radio appearance that he would take Goff over Wentz “without a doubt.”

                                Even NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, who prefers Wentz for his tools and upside, has called Goff the “most ready-to-play quarterback in this draft.”

                                “You just don’t see very often college quarterbacks who have his ability both mentally and physically,” Brugler said. “His ability to throw guys open, that passing anticipating. You saw that a little bit with Jameis Winston, but he brings something different to the table – something that projects very well to the NFL level.”

                                Of course, it’s easy enough to find those on the other side of the aisle, too. Wentz is still the favorite to go No. 1 on a litany of mock drafts, including one from Cris Collinsworth that predicted the Rams’ blockbuster trade a month before it was finalized.

                                The case for Wentz is simple enough to understand. The Bismarck, N.D., native stands at 6-foot-5 and 235...
                                -04-18-2016, 12:21 PM
                              • Nick
                                With the 1st pick of the '16 NFL Draft, the LA Rams select JARED GOFF, QB, CALIFORNIA
                                by Nick
                                It's official! Discuss the pick here!



                                OVERVIEW
                                Instead of following the path of his father, Jerry, to major league baseball (played catcher for three teams over six seasons), Goff starred as a high school quarterback in the Bay Area. Cal coaches put him right into the fire in 2013, and he answered the challenge as the school's first-ever freshman opening weekend starting quarterback. The honorable mention All-Pac-12 pick (18 TD, 10 INT) set school records for passing yards (3,508), passes completed (320), and passes attempted (531) on a 1-11 team lacking great talent. He suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder in the "Big Game" against Stanford that year, but managed to return for the 2014 spring game. In fact, he started all 12 games as a sophomore, completing 62.1 percent of his passes for 3,973 yards and 35 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. Goff capped his career at Cal with a first team All-Pac-12 season, starting every game and setting conference records with 4,719 passing yards and 43 touchdowns on the year. The Bears also won their first bowl game since 2008 when Goff threw for 467 yards and six touchdowns when they took out Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. Even before that victory, however, Goff decided to move on to the professional ranks after the season as one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft.

                                STRENGTHS
                                Quality arm. Makes all the throws and can sling the deep out with velocity and accuracy. Clean release and snaps throws off with flick of the wrist. Drives hips through his release for extra heat. Pocket mobility and poise showed improvement from 2014 to 2015. Maintains proper footwork and readiness to throw as he slides inside the pocket. Speeds up internal clock when he feels pressure or recognizes blitz. Pocket climber. Able to run out of trouble rather than into it. Looks the part of a confident, first round quarterback when working from a clean pocket. Sells his play ­fakes with purpose and draws linebackers forward. Has learned to expedite his throws from off­-balance angles due to pocket pressure. Will throw receivers open in tight quarters. Has excellent trajectory and pillowy soft touch on touch throws down the field that give receivers a chance to make plays. Showed substantial growth with his willingness to attack intermediate areas of the field and did so with accuracy and relative success. Completed an impressive 43.8 percent of his deep throws. Competes on third and long seeking out first downs over check downs.

                                WEAKNESSES
                                Hits a rough patch with accuracy from time to time. Sails throws over intended targets especially early in games. Has spots where he makes receivers work too hard on easy throws. Spent 99.8 percent of his pass snaps from pistol or shotgun this season. Will likely need to orient himself with NFL footwork from under center. Rhythm passer who benefited from the up­tempo and "quick...
                                -04-28-2016, 06:16 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Cal coach Sonny Dykes: Rams 'very wise' to wait with Jared Goff
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Cal coach Sonny Dykes: Rams 'very wise' to wait with Jared Goff

                                Alden Gonzalez ESPN Staff Writer

                                THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Cal coach Sonny Dykes learned everything he ever really needed to know about Jared Goff during Goff's freshman season as a teenage quarterback for a program that won only once in 12 tries.

                                "He never blinked," Dykes said in a phone interview this week, days before Goff makes his long-awaited debut for the Los Angeles Rams. "I think we played Ohio State in Game 3 that year, and we weren’t very good, and we were playing with a ton of young players. Bunch of freshmen. Bunch of O-linemen that weren’t ready to be playing, I can promise you that. He got hit a bunch, and I learned that he was incredibly tough physically, incredibly tough mentally. He never complained one time. He just got up, dusted himself off, went back to the sideline and went back to work. And that’s the best thing about Jared Goff."

                                This won't be easy for Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL draft.

                                His own coaches have cautioned as much. Jeff Fisher, who warned against judging Goff solely on the merits of his first game Sunday at home against the Miami Dolphins, said Goff is "going to have some moments, like all young quarterbacks do." Or offensive coordinator Rob Boras, who acknowledged that taking practice snaps is "different than actually playing." And quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke, who talked about how the Rams "have to accept that there’s going to be some bumps in the road."

                                Goff will be tested from Day 1 against a Dolphins team with a devastating front four and standing behind an offensive line that has not performed well this season.

                                One thing that should help him, Dykes believes, is his footwork in the pocket and his willingness to absorb hits, a trait teammates have already picked up on.

                                "When they sat down and looked at all the quarterbacks, I think that’s what made him stand out, made him unique and made him the first pick," Dykes said. "It was his toughness, ability to stand in there and throw the ball with somebody in his face. Also, his ability to shuffle around and create space is pretty unique. The NFL game is different than the college game. Everything has to happen much faster than it does in college, but I’m sure he’s made that adjustment. I think he’ll do a great job."

                                The Rams waited to start Goff largely because he came from an offense in which he did not take a snap from under center and did not call plays from the huddle. Besides getting acclimated to NFL speed, those have been his two biggest adjustments. The system Goff ran at Cal was the pass-happy Air Raid offense that lends itself to gaudy collegiate statistics but traditionally has not produced successful NFL quarterbacks.

                                Goff ran a lot of run-pass options that mostly required


                                ...
                                -11-18-2016, 10:42 AM
                              • Rambos
                                Jared Goff will be Rams' franchise quarterback -- in time
                                by Rambos
                                • Dan Graziano

                                IRVINE, Calif. -- After every play Jared Goff runs in Los Angeles Rams practice -- good or bad, pass or run -- someone goes up and talks to him. Sometimes it’s offensive coordinator Rob Boras. Sometimes it’s quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke. But after literally every single snap Goff took in practice Tuesday, a coach spoke with him.
                                “We want to make sure that he’s seeing what we’re seeing and make sure he’s looking at the right things,” Weinke said. “So yeah, after every single play, that’s part of the learning curve -- make sure you’re seeing what you’re supposed to see.”

                                Jared Goff is learning several new responsibilities in the Rams' offense. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsYou can’t watch Goff practice without being impressed. He looks great. His footwork, whether it’s dropping back from under center or from the shotgun sets he ran exclusively in college, is sound. His arm strength is unquestionable. He’s a stellar athlete built for the position at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. You can see why the Rams traded up to draft him No. 1 overall.
                                But after every single play, when you see how much teaching Goff’s coaches are doing, you also understand how far he has to go.
                                “I’m asked all the time, ‘Is he going to start the opener?’ I don’t know,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “We drafted him. We traded up to draft him. He’s going to be our franchise quarterback. When he gets under center full-time, I don’t know when that is. And I’m not going to rush him to do it.”

                                So what does Goff, who’s still taking second-team reps while incumbent Case Keenum takes the first-team reps, have to show the coaches to convince them he’s ready?
                                “We are looking for him to continue to command the huddle -- which he’s doing a hell of a job [at], so continue to command the huddle,” Weinke said. “Continue to make good decisions in the passing game and collectively understand all of our checks in the run game.”

                                Not as simple as it sounds. Goff is working to master the protection schemes for which he didn’t have responsibility in college at Cal but does with the Rams. He’s working to learn the terminology of an offense that’s trying to fuse what Adam Gase ran in Denver and Chicago (passing game coordinator Mike Groh worked under Gase in Chicago) with the West Coast principles in which Boras was trained.

                                “That’s going to be the biggest thing for him coming from his offense -- coming up to the line of scrimmage with multiple things he’s responsible for,” Weinke said. “He hasn’t called a play in the huddle for three years, because [Cal’s] offense is called from the sideline. The growth in his ability to be able to call a play with confidence from OTAs to now is huge. And now, it’s his ability to understand our protections, make the adjustments and then, with time, he’s going to have a better understanding of where to throw...
                                -08-03-2016, 12:24 PM
                              • MauiRam
                                Data dislike Goff and, thus, the Rams' 2017 prospects ..
                                by MauiRam
                                Seth Walder ESPN Analyt

                                Expectations for Jared Goff and the Rams' offense really can't get any lower.

                                One year after the former Cal quarterback was selected with the first overall pick by the Rams, Los Angeles' offense is widely anticipated to be one of the worst -- if not the worst -- in the NFL. ESPN's FPI thinks even that is generous.

                                Under the hood in FPI are two offensive strength predictions for each team: one assuming the starting quarterback is playing and the other assuming the backup is playing. Both measurements incorporate expected points added per play and are derived from a combination of the team's offensive performance the year before, a version of the quarterback's
                                Total QBR
                                history and a team's Vegas win total.

                                With 32 teams and two quarterbacks apiece, that means 64 theoretical offenses are ranked. The Rams with Jared Goff under center? They're behind the Colts with Scott Tolzien, the Jaguars with Chad Henne and the Jets with Bryce Petty. That's right: The Rams with Goff are predicted to have the 64th-best offense among the group -- dead last. That's the kind of forecast that probably leaves Rams fans yearning for the days of guaranteed mediocrity under Jeff Fisher.

                                But being 64th means something else, too. It shows that FPI thinks the Rams, at this moment, would have a better chance of winning with backup Sean Mannion-- he of 13 career pass attempts -- instead of Goff. While FPI doesn't project the Rams' offense with recently signed veteran Dan Orlovsky because he is the third-string quarterback, it's safe to assume that FPI would also predict Los Angeles to have a better chance with the 33-year-old manning the offense, based on the Lions' predicted EPA/P with him as their backup last year and how little the metric thinks of Goff.

                                This, of course, comes on the heels of a disastrous rookie season in which Goff couldn't even beat Case Keenumfor the top spot on the depth chart until the 10th game of the season and then posted a QBR of 22.2 in his seven starts.

                                Optimists will point out that the situation Goff walked into wasn't ideal. It's true -- his teammates did not ease his transition to the pros.

                                Goff was constantly under duress during his seven weeks as a starter. He was sacked a league-high 26 times in that span and dealt with pressure on 35.6 percent of his dropbacks, third-most in the NFL. Opponents blitzed him like crazy -- more than anyone else in the league during those weeks. Interestingly, despite his offensive line allowing pressure on 53.8 percent of dropbacks when blitzed (the second-highest rate in the NFL during that span), Goff was actually better when opponents brought five or more pass-rushers. When he wasn't blitzed, Goff's protection was better, though, as the Rams allowed him to be pressured at only the 10th-highest rate in the league.

                                Once/if Goff got rid of the ball, his teammates still...
                                -07-28-2017, 03:13 AM
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