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Data dislike Goff and, thus, the Rams' 2017 prospects ..

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  • Data dislike Goff and, thus, the Rams' 2017 prospects ..

    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 didn't help him much. Rams receivers dropped the rookie's passes 5.4 percent of the time during those weeks -- the seventh-highest rate in the NFL in that span and what would have been the fifth-highest rate among qualified quarterbacks over the course of the season. Unfortunately for L.A. fans, QBR is not blind to the shortcomings of the other players on last year's Rams offense. It recognizes when receivers drop the ball and when a quarterback is under duress and tries to debit or credit accordingly. Because QBR is an input into FPI's rating of the Rams' offense with him at the helm, it helps limit unfair punishment of Goff for his teammates' limitations.

    But all is not lost for Los Angeles and its young quarterback. The Rams can pin their hopes on three factors that could positively affect their offense and Goff, the latter two of which are not considered in FPI's prediction:
    • While the level of Goff's play in 2016 was damning, it did come in a small sample. That means there is a wider range of outcomes for him going forward than, say, a 10-year starter. As such, if Goff and the Rams' offense started to click, their predicted EPA/P would probably adjust rather quickly.
    • Goff played in an "Air Raid" system in college and therefore was always going to face a schematic transition. Perhaps he simply needs more time to adjust. Unfortunately for him, there isn't exactly a great track record of former Air Raid-style quarterbacks making said transition successfully.
    • Sean McVay. The Rams' new head coach is charged with developing Goff after Kirk Cousins blossomed into a franchise quarterback in Washington with McVay as his offensive coordinator. If you look closely, there are parallels here. No, Cousins wasn't drafted with the No. 1 overall pick, but at the start of 2015, he had had limited experience on the field and hadn't been particularly successful to that point. In fact, heading into that season, FPI saw the Redskins' offense with Cousins as the starter as the 41st-best theoretical offense in the league. Not quite Goff levels of bad but not a ringing endorsement of Cousins as a starter, either. And, in fact, it did not start out all that pretty. In his first eight games in 2015, Cousins posted a Total QBR of 58.6. From Week 10 on, he was second-best in the NFL with a QBR of 82.5. He followed that by finishing sixth in QBR in 2016.
    Was McVay critical to Cousins' development? Rams fans are hoping so.

    But like Goff, McVay enters 2017 with what is effectively a small sample size. Even given the benefit of the doubt that Robert Griffin III was a lost cause by the time McVay took over the offense in Washington in 2014, the new Rams head coach is essentially 1-for-1 in developing quarterbacks.

    Ultimately, Goff's ability as a quarterback looks awfully bleak at the moment but maintains plenty of uncertainty going forward. No one knows if Goff still can become the quarterback the Rams envisioned -- by virtue of McVay, a better offensive line or otherwise -- but at least at this early stage it is still conceivable, even with FPI's dour forecast. Although uncertainty might not sound like much, at least the Rams have that.

    Uh, thanks for clarifying everything! "I Can See Clearly Now" ta dum - dum - dum ...

  • #2
    The Rams' offense will have as many as 6 new starters, one player playing a new position, a QB in his second season (who played only 7 games last year), and an entirely new coaching staff.

    There is NO data that tells us how this NEW offense will perform.


    • #3
      I'm sorry, but any measurement using data can't seriously put Sean Mannion ahead of Goff.

      Goff had 54.6% completion, 5 TDs, 7 picks and a 63.6 rating. Not good by any means. But Mannion had a 50% completion rate, no TDs, a pick 6, and ended up with a 17.4 passer rating

      If a QB just throws nothing but incompletions, they get a rating of 39.5. That means that Mannion was a worse QB than one that takes the snap and spikes the ball directly into the ground.


      • #4
        Originally posted by RamFanEsq View Post
        The Rams' offense will have as many as 6 new starters, one player playing a new position, a QB in his second season (who played only 7 games last year), and an entirely new coaching staff.

        There is NO data that tells us how this NEW offense will perform.
        Two if you count both Havenstein moving inside to guard and Brown moving outside to tackle, but you may have been counting them in your six starters number.

        The only thing that's staying the same on the OL from last year is Saffold. Every other spot has seen some kind of change. There is a new starter at TE and WR. Two new starters, in fact, if you count Kupp as being in the base package. A more experienced Goff and new offensive scheme...

        Yeah, I 100% agree. This isn't a situation where last year's data is particularly relevant in predicting what the Rams will do this year.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nick View Post

          Yeah, I 100% agree. This isn't a situation where last year's data is particularly relevant in predicting what the Rams will do this year.

          You're right, of course, but it's no more inaccurate than college basketball and football rankings where teams are put in the top 20 despite heavy graduation rates/roster turnover. A brand new 'anything" will always have detractors until they prove themselves. So from that standpoint, it's not surprising the Rams' offense isn't yet being held in high esteem.


          • #6
            I agree with RamFanEsq there is no way of projecting how our O will be compared to last year with new so many new players and coaches.

            I also think there is still hope for Goff. Just look at the stat line for Payton Mannings Rookie season, not really stellar either.

            I hope for the best and I really do not think that it can be any worse than last year.


            • #7
              Click image for larger version

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              "Two offenses are separated by a full year, 6-7 key players
              and an entire coaching staff. How can we possibly know
              what to expect?"


              • #8
                Ugh, more predictive statistic silliness. Even practice cannot start soon enough.
                “Oh, 100 percent,” Donald said. “I feel like the words, ‘Thank you,’ ain’t enough. You’ve got to show it... Instead of saying thank you — show it.”


                • #9
                  But like Goff, McVay enters 2017 with what is effectively a small sample size.
                  So let me get this straight, the case can't be made for Goff improving because of a small sample size, but Walder and FPI can make the case that Goff's prospects are "awfully bleak" based on that same small sample size?? Talk about a meaningless analytic.


                  Related Topics


                  • Nick
                    How good, or bad, will Jared Goff be in Year 2? It's anybody's guess
                    by Nick
                    How good, or bad, will Jared Goff be in Year 2? It's anybody's guess
                    2:09 PM ET
                    Alden Gonzalez
                    ESPN Staff Writer

                    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano witnessed the proverbial "Year 2 Leap" firsthand with Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. The game started to slow down; third-down blitz packages and safety rotations became easier to pick up.

                    By the end of it, Luck had cut his interceptions in half over the course of his second NFL season, his quarterback rating jumping from 76.5 to 87.0 from 2012 to 2013.

                    And that brings us to Jared Goff, a downright mystery in the build-up to the 2017 regular season.

                    Goff should be better as a second-year player, but by how much?

                    The Los Angeles Rams knew he needed work when they made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, but they probably didn't anticipate him needing that much. Goff wasn't named the starter until Week 11, then lost all seven of his starts and finished with a Total QBR of 22.2, the lowest among quarterbacks who played in at least five games.

                    But that was under dire circumstances. His offensive line was bad, his running game nonexistent, his receivers inferior and his coaching staff generally lacking in experience with his position. Now Goff is in a system that has proven to get the most out of quarterbacks, while operating behind an improved offensive line and throwing to a deeper, more talented group of receivers. And it's hard to really know what to expect.

                    Asked in what ways he believes he is better since the end of his rookie season, Goff said: "I think just understanding the intent of stuff that we do and understanding what the defense is trying to do and what the intent of their calls are, and different ways to attack it. With that, the game just begins to slow down a little bit. I think that's what you ultimately feel. I felt it from Year 1 to Year 2. At every level you're at, you get that slowdown effect a little bit from those two years. And I think it continues to slow down as time goes on."

                    The Rams have done their best not to put too much pressure on Goff, at least publicly. First-year head coach Sean McVay, who worked wonders with Kirk Cousins in Washington, has talked mostly about the need for Goff to limit turnovers and distribute the ball in an effort to open holes for his star running back, Todd Gurley, who didn't see many holes last season.

                    The expectations remain basic.

                    "We expect him to make good decisions, throw with accuracy and rhythm," McVay said. "If he does that, then I think he'll give himself a chance to play good football for us."

                    Goff is at a point in his career where he will frequently flash his potential and also make critical mistakes, reminding you that he is still only 22 years old. He threw six interceptions during a three-day...
                    -09-07-2017, 01:31 PM
                  • Nick
                    An elite QB is tough to define, but Rams’ Jared Goff has a chance to join that group
                    by Nick
                    An elite quarterback is tough to define, but Rams’ Jared Goff has a chance to join that group
                    By RICH HAMMOND | [email protected] | Orange County Register
                    PUBLISHED: December 26, 2018 at 4:02 pm | UPDATED: December 26, 2018 at 4:02 pm

                    THOUSAND OAKS — The narrative and the questions about Jared Goff have shifted like weather patterns since 2016. Is he a bust? Is he a legitimate starting quarterback? Is he a star? Could he be a superstar?

                    The current barometer reading is somewhere between the latter two, but stay tuned. Goff receives the most scrutiny of any Rams player, and that comes with the position. After a couple wobbly games, Goff improved last week, but the truest test of his season is about to come, and questions will be answered.

                    The playoffs are on the horizon, and at the end of a season that has seen him skyrocket to MVP candidacy, then fall under heavy criticism, it’s time for Goff to reveal what class of quarterback he deserves to be in.

                    “Winning the championship is always the goal,” Rams coach Sean McVay said before Wednesday’s walk-through practice at Cal Lutheran. “In a lot of instances, that does end up being a good measuring stick, but that’s always a team result and they only have so much control. The great ones, they consistently perform, year in and year out, and that’s really the truest measurement of performance.”

                    That’s why getting a read on Goff’s season – and even his three-year NFL career – is tough.

                    How to judge a quarterback? Is it a Super Bowl championship? Guys such as Jeff Hostetler, Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer have rings. Is it a couple of All-Pro selections? Then add Rich Gannon to the list. Is it a guy who has led the league in passing? Matt Schaub did that nine years ago. It’s an inexact science.

                    “I think it’s consistency,” McVay said. “The great ones consistently perform, year in and year out.”

                    At first hearing, that might sound like cop-out coach-speak, but it is probably the fairest measure, and particularly for Goff, whose has been in search of level ground since the Rams drafted him in 2016.

                    Write off Goff’s rookie season, because the team was awful and the coaching quite suspect. In 2017, Goff led the Rams to a division title and made the Pro Bowl, but fizzled in a playoff loss – as did most of his teammates – as he completed only 24 of 45 attempts for 259 yards against the Atlanta Falcons.

                    This season, Goff had an amazing early-season run, with four consecutive games of at least 320 yards. By the end of November, Goff had 26 touchdowns and six interceptions and was considered a potential MVP. In his next three games, though, Goff threw one touchdown pass and six interceptions.

                    Goff enjoyed what, for the most part, could be considered a bounce-back game last week at Arizona, when he completed 19 of 24 attempts for 216 yards. Goff was efficient but still...
                    -12-27-2018, 11:27 AM
                  • r8rh8rmike
                    Jared Goff's 'complete 180' has Rams playoff-ready
                    by r8rh8rmike
                    Jared Goff's 'complete 180' has Rams playoff-ready

                    By Kevin Patra
                    Around the NFL writer
                    Published: Dec. 22, 2017 at 08:13 a.m.

                    Jared Goff is in the midst of one of the best non-injury turnarounds in the NFL.

                    The Los Angeles Rams quarterback followed up a disastrous, winless rookie campaign, with a steady, sometimes spectacular, near-playoff-clinching season.

                    Goff's 35.3-point increase in passer rating over last season is the largest jump in the NFL. His 98.9 passer rating puts him fifth all-time for a second-year quarterback (Kurt Warner: 109.2, 1999; Dan Marino: 108.9, 1984; Carson Wentz: 101.9, 2017; Russell Wilson 101.2, 2013).

                    Goff was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl, which means he'll likely be added at some point, given Carson Wentz's injury.

                    While the turnaround from hot mess to steady eddy has surprised most outside the Rams' facility, not everyone was shocked the quarterback has flipped the script so quickly.

                    "I said it at the beginning that he was going to make a complete 180," corner Trumaine Johnson said, via ESPN. "Personally, in my opinion, he should've been selected first team, too. But he's been doing a great job, man, with this whole team."

                    Thanks in large part to Sean McVay scheming up wide open receivers, and an improved offensive line, Goff's numbers have improved across the board:

                    Goff 2016: 7 games, 54.6 completion percentage; 5.3 yards per attempt, 5 TDs, 7 INTs, 63.6 passer rating.
                    Goff 2017: 14 games, 62.4 completion percentage; 8.0 yards per attempt, 24 TDs, 7 INTs, 98.9 passer rating.

                    Goff downplayed the turnaround, saying it was merely a product of the team around him and the natural course of acclimating to the NFL.

                    "It happens at every level, in high school and college and now in the pros," Goff said. "The first season is learning a lot, and then the second season it starts to settle down, and it continues to go that way as time goes on."

                    Goff is the latest lesson in patience with young players. Casting off high draft picks as "busts" has almost become a niche industry. Doing so ignores the giant leap from college to pro -- both physically and mentally -- especially for a quarterback learning new aspects of running the offense.

                    Goff's turnaround also underscores the importance of a creative coaching mind that can nurture a talented growing passer -- not just toss him into traffic and see if he can frogger his way to the other side.

                    "The guy went No. 1," Rams running back Todd Gurley said earlier this season. "Dude don't go No. 1 for no reason."

                    Goff went No. 1 and almost imploded as a rookie. Now he's displaying poise and distributing ability in McVay's offense, which has the Rams poised to make their first playoff appearance since 2004....
                    -12-22-2017, 08:58 AM
                  • Nick
                    Why the Rams won’t let Jared Goff walk
                    by Nick
                    Why the Rams won’t let Jared Goff walk
                    By Vincent Bonsignore
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                    Only two NFL quarterbacks started at least 15 games in each of the past two seasons and finished with a passer rating over 100 while leading their teams to consecutive division championships.

                    One, Drew Brees, is a future Hall of Famer.

                    The other, 24-year-old Jared Goff, has presided over the winningest team in the NFL the past two years, its highest-scoring offense, and is coming off a Super Bowl appearance.

                    At some point over the next decade or so, Brees rightfully will be fitted for a gold jacket signifying his stature as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to set foot on an NFL field.

                    As for Goff, well, if you believe the astoundingly lazy observations emanating from the furthest reaches of the NFL stratosphere, he’s little more than a product of the system he plays in and no sure bet to be re-signed to a lucrative long-term extension befitting his place among the best quarterbacks in the game.

                    From those same corners of the NFL there is speculation that Sean McVay and the Rams are actually considering letting Goff walk at the end of his contract in order to pluck from thin air a younger, less expensive replacement for whom McVay will conjure up all his mystical and magical powers in order to seamlessly insert him into the lineup without the Rams missing a beat.

                    Because, you know, system quarterback.

                    The level of absurdity is almost too phenomenal to take seriously.

                    But it’s also seeped too deeply into public consciousness to let go without comment.

                    First things first, the Rams are not actually pondering a plan in which they decline to re-sign Goff when his rookie contract expires after the 2020 season. On the contrary, they are planning and preparing their landscape for a world in which Goff is making franchise-caliber money and surrounded by a supporting cast strong enough to ensure playoff contention for the foreseeable future.

                    Yes, it will be a salary-cap challenge fitting a franchise quarterback contract into the payroll of a championship-caliber roster. But one for which the Rams are already formulating a game plan.

                    It will require shrewd drafting, especially in the mid-to-late rounds, to continually come up with young, reasonably-priced developmental players that they can eventually rely on to produce. It will entail well-researched and disciplined thinking, knowing when to let veteran free agents walk in order to recoup compensation picks, who to reel in from the free-agent market and when to peddle off draft picks in order acquire instant-impact veteran help.

                    But given how eight of the last 12 Super Bowl participants did so while their quarterbacks were being paid top-quarterback money, there is ample precedent for constructing championship-caliber rosters around highly paid quarterbacks....
                    -05-24-2019, 03:01 PM
                  • MauiRam
                    Rams QB coach likes Goff's growth, but 'he's far from a finished product'
                    by MauiRam
                    Aug 24, 2017
                    Alden Gonzalez
                    ESPN Staff Writer

                    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- There was never really one specific thing that Jared Goff needed to improve on as he entered 2017. He was -- and still is -- only 22 years old, a second-year quarterback in his first year under a new system, coming off a rookie season that was substandard by every measure. Greg Olson, the Los Angeles Rams' new quarterbacks coach, couldn't specify.

                    "We felt, as a staff, when we put all our eyes on him, that there were a number of things that he could get better at," Olson said. "From footwork to progressions to timing in the passing game, there were a lot of things there that we felt like he needed to work on."

                    The list remains daunting, even in the midst of his most encouraging performance to date.

                    Goff went 16-of-20 for 160 yards while playing almost the entire first half against the Oakland Raiders on Saturday night. He led the Rams to two touchdowns and a field goal in four drives, the first of which ended with a 23-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Cooper Kupp. It was the type of stretch that made one believe that the former No. 1 overall pick may actually thrive one day; that this offense, rebuilt over the last five months, may finally be good again.

                    Goff acknowledged the confidence boost a night like that can trigger, "But it wasn't like it was shocking," he added. "It's something that we expected to do."

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                    Olson's excitement was tempered.

                    "Believe me," Olson said of Goff, "he's far from a finished product. He would tell you that. And we know that; we understand that. But we're happy with the growth so far and the way he's approached the process here of getting better. There's a lot of positive things here that have come out, and he's just gotta continue that constant, daily improvement."

                    Olson was the Rams' offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2007, when the team operated out of St. Louis. He worked with an in-his-prime Marc Bulger then, one of numerous quarterbacks who have been under his tutelage. Prior to rejoining the Rams, Olson spent 15 years as either a quarterbacks coach or an offensive coordinator -- sometimes both -- with seven different organizations. He instructed veterans like Jeff Garcia, Kordell Stewart and Brian Griese, young players like Rex Grossman, Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles.

                    In Goff, Olson sees someone who "wants to get better" and "wants to realize his potential." He sees someone who has "tried to wipe the slate clean from his rookie season," but also "took it as a learning experience." He sees someone with a "good attitude" and a "strong work ethic." And he sees someone who...
                    -08-25-2017, 09:40 AM