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Goff's Protection Will Be Key Without Saffold/Sullivan.

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  • Goff's Protection Will Be Key Without Saffold/Sullivan.

    Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings for quarterbacks under pressure reiterate how important it is for Los Angeles Rams to protect QB Jared Goff

    Goff is essentially two different quarterbacks. The one with a clean pocket? One of the best in the NFL. The one under pressure? One of the worst.

    By 3k@3k_ Jul 8, 2019,

    ..The bigger issue is with Goff struggling against pressure. In 2018, Goff has posted an 83.8 Total QBR when he’s unpressured, the fifth-best mark in the league. When he is pressured, though, Goff’s QBR falls all the way down to 11.3, which is just between Marcus Mariota and Josh Rosen for 25th in the league. That 72.5-point slide is the biggest drop-off for any quarterback in the NFL.

    That was ESPN’s Bill Barnwell in mid-December talking about Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff and the two starkly differing levels of play he offered to that point.

    When he was protected and allowed to operate in a clean pocket, Goff had proven himself able to produce as well as nearly any QB in the NFL. When pressured though in spite of the brilliance of Head Coach Sean McVay and the personnel around him, he was among the worst.

    Over at Football Outsiders today, Scott Spratt has posted updated DVOA rankings for 34 quarterbacks and how they performed both when under pressure and not. It tells the same story for Goff.

    When he was protected (and Goff had the fifth-best protection rate per their evaluation), Goff was the fifth-best QB in the NFL. But under pressure? Goff finished 24th in DVOA leaving him with the fifth-biggest difference between his performance when protected and when under pressure.

    That volatility is perhaps the center of the attention for the offense heading into the season with the only personnel changes on the starting offense coming on the offensive line.

    The Rams’ offensive line in 2018 was fantastic. The loss of LG Rodger Saffold III and C John Sullivan should not be underestimated. That’s not to say that presumptive starters OL Joseph Noteboom and C Brian Allen should be expected to perform below adequacy. It simply means the bar set by the 2018 line was set extremely high. I mentioned that they left Goff with the fifth-best protection rate per Football Outsiders, but FO also ranked them the best run-blocking line in the entire NFL.

    And while the run game offers some unpredictability itself thanks to the saga surrounding RB Todd Gurley’s knee and the addition of RB Darrell Henderson via the 2019 NFL Draft, the downside isn’t as stark as it is with Goff.

    For all of his skills and despite a phenomenal performance late in the NFC Championship against the New Orleans Saints where he was brilliant dealing with pressure, Goff simply has not been good under pressure on the whole.

    Here’s Spratt’s thoughts on Goff:

    It is an incredible story that Goff turned [his performance while not under pressure] around. But Sean McVay makes Goff’s pressure splits the most fascinating part of this analysis. With McVay, Goff went from worst to nearly first in DVOA without pressure, but he has made only modest improvements to his DVOA with pressure. It’s hard not to read those splits as evidence of McVay’s brilliance rather than Goff’s. McVay famously communicates his pre-snap reads to help simplify Goff’s responsibilities, and when the Patriots switched defenses after communications cut off with fewer than 15 seconds on every play clock in the Super Bowl, Goff struggled. After throwing to the same receiver running the same route on the previous play, Goff put the final nail in the Rams’ coffin when he panicked in reaction to the Patriots’ fourth-quarter blitz and threw an easy pass for Stephon Gilmore to intercept. That decision punctuated a season full of similar mistakes.

    Clearly, Goff’s poor play under pressure is not a dealbreaker or the Rams would not have been in the Super Bowl in the first place. McVay has done an excellent job in limiting the amount of pressure Goff sees, cutting the team’s pressure rate from a league-leading 40.4 percent the year prior to his arrival to 30.7 and 25.5 percent the last two seasons, both bottom-10 in football. And the offseason should provide McVay the time to create strategies like a hurry-up offense to counter the blueprint that Bill Belichick’s play-switching provided for other teams.

    Meanwhile, Goff has a more realistic role model for his potential improvement than Rosen does in Goff. Kirk Cousins was a bottom-third performer under pressure in each of his first two seasons as a starter and has climbed all the way to the top 10 as of 2018. One could argue that Goff is even ahead of that pace given that Cousins spent the first two years of his career on the bench.

    So for Goff himself, there’s reason for optimism. He’s continued to improve individually every offseason, and there’s cause to believe he’ll continue to do so especially with as much room as he has to improve under pressure.

    But perhaps more important is the performance of the offensive line. As good as they were in 2018, they didn’t make Goff’s struggles under pressure a frequent feature. The 2019 line will be tasked with the same.

    Given how poorly Goff was under pressure last year, that’s a tall task.

  • #2
    'Makes sense. Therein the renewed challenge for both Goff and our OL.

    Alright Rams' coaches, this is a must. Let's GET IT DONE.

    Last edited by RealRam; -07-09-2019, 05:25 PM. Reason: 'Again'


    • #3
      I'm still not sold on Goff being "elite", even though many fans seem to think he is.

      I am also not convinced Saffold was "great". He was good, he was consistent with everything, including his injuries.

      But it's time for Goff to step up and show us what he is capable of - and it's time for a new O lineman to take Saffold's spot and fill that spot with solid play for the next decade.


      • #4
        Originally posted by RamsFanSam View Post
        I'm still not sold on Goff being "elite", even though many fans seem to think he is.

        I am also not convinced Saffold was "great". He was good, he was consistent with everything, including his injuries.

        But it's time for Goff to step up and show us what he is capable of - and it's time for a new O lineman to take Saffold's spot and fill that spot with solid play for the next decade.
        I agree with everything here. Goff still needs to show he can effectively handle pressure on a consistent basis before he can be seen as an elite NFL QB. That is now more important than ever with unproven replacements on the OL, and Gurley likely to have less impact on the offense. That said, Goff is a fighter, and has shown he can rise to challenges. I have confidence he'll do what needs to be done.


        • #5
          Whether Goff fits the measurement of "elite" matters little to me. I want to see Goff become more effective each year of his career as he seems to be doing in McVay's system. But let's not forget it's also about who he passes to such as Cooks, Woods, Everett and Kupp and who he hands-off to such as Gurley and Brown plus now Henderson. The O-line is critical and letting Saffold walk was a reality that had to happen due to cap considerations. As long as our coaches, led by McVay continue to improvise the offense so we're not predictable we'll be fine.

          One thing I can say about Goff and I hope not to jinx him, is that he has not missed a start due to injury. Wentz cannot say that. Guess we'll see how the Rams value Goff next off season when the contract extension comes up.

          Go Rams!


          • #6
            I think Goff still has alot to prove, But as far as the O line i think it gets better John Got beat a number of times and believe he schooled allen well and Rodger i think did the same to those in the O linwe room. I think the Rams knew who they were bring back and who they would let leave. Goff without Mcvay might be still 7-9 dont really know but i do like him more with mcvay no doubt at all. but i hope he gets alot better throwing on the run and gets nerves under pressure, hes still young but do not believe hes worth what some of the other QBs have got...
            :helmet::ram::helmet: :ram::helmet::ram:


            • #7
              Goff is now a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback with QB ratings above 100 in the last two years and a QBR that has trended upwards every year. Whether we call him elite or not, he's shown he can play and play well at the highest levels of football under McVay. He's 24 years old, so obviously he still has room to improve. But he's fantastic when given time to throw, and I hope Noteboom and Allen are ready for the test to help keep him in as clean a pocket as possible. I also hope that McVay has spent the offseason working on some schematic adjustments and additions to the playbook that can help take pressure off of the QB if the line is having issues or if the run game isn't working as well as it should.


              • #8
                Goff has arrived at a critical juncture of his NFL career.

                He's developed very well these last couple of seasons in the high-functioning offensive environment created and managed by McVay, especially including an experienced and stable O line. (As far as I'm concerned, his first season struggles in Fisher's dead-on-arrival offense are meaningless at this point.) There's no disputing his accomplishments: 2 division titles, 4 playoff games, an NFC crown, a SB appearance, a number of games where he was truly fantastic, and a bunch of glowing stats speak for themselves. We've seen him mature from a goofy rookie to a confident young leader of the offense. But he's got to keep maturing and improving to keep the Rams in the championship conversation. Belichick's defensive approach to the SB was to exploit his inexperience, put maximum physical and mental pressure on him. And it worked. Goff was off balance and off his game, never found the end zone, and the Pats won despite being held to 13. It was painful and frustrating to watch. It still hurts.

                From the start of the McVay era, we knew the O line would have to be transitioned to younger players in the short term, at least at LT and C. And now we are in that transition. There are reasons to feel positive about it. First, we still have Whitworth. This is huge. To have lost him (to retirement) in the same season we lose Saffold and Sullivan would have been a complete upheaval and a profound loss of leadership. Second, I love the way the Rams under McVay/Snead are behaving like a top franchise, grooming and mentoring players to take over key roles. This isn't Fisher neglecting O line personnel year after year and then trying to make up an O line in one offseason with a bunch of rookies thrust into roles and responsibilities that are over their heads. It's great that Noteboom, Allen and Demby were allowed red-shirt years, under the tutelage of mature, successful players (and top offensive coaches). (I see the same thing happening on the defensive side, but that discussion is for other posts.) Third, it appears to me that Saffold's departure is a managed event, anticipated and planned for. The Rams made their choice to spend salary cap on Havenstein and Gurley, knowing it would probably put them out of the running for Saffold's next contract. Personally, I feel positive about Noteboom taking over at LG. He's had that red-shirt year. He looks the part, physically. He looked good on the field last season, in limited action. And he'll be playing next to Whitworth.

                In my opinion, the Center position is the critical offensive issue heading into this season. To put a finer point on it, the collaborative play of the Center and Goff is the critical issue. Allen is going to get the first crack at the Center position (and we all hope for his success). But remember, Blythe has demonstrated he can play that position, and there's been a lot of positive buzz about Demby's development (including training at all 5 positions). I don't doubt that McVay will re-formulate the line if Allen struggles. But whoever settles in at the Center position, the transition at center significantly increases Goff's responsibilities at the line of scrimmage. It will be a big change for him to go from Sullivan's "jr. partner" to Allen's (or Blythe's or Demby's) "sr. partner".

                So, here's Goff, coming off a difficult final quarter of the season last year, where it looked like opposing teams were having success by maximizing pressure on him and shortening his decision-making window, then a poor performance in the SB where Belichick focused on challenging his decision-making under pressure, and now losing his experienced Center and having to step up and take on more of the mental responsibilities at the line of scrimmage. This seems to me like the critical offensive issue for the 2019 team. And perhaps the critical issue for the entire team's prospects. If Goff rises to the occasion and steps up to the next level, there's really no room for dispute that he's one of the top QBs in this league and looking at a huge payday in his next contract. If he struggles, he will have many doubters, opponents will smell blood, and the Rams will have difficult decisions to make about their long term commitment to him. I am certainly rooting for Goff (and Allen or Blythe or Demby). Will be interesting.


                • #9
                  Good point / observations / post Seacone.


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                  • 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, 12:27 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.

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                    -07-28-2017, 03:13 AM
                  • Nick
                    Why the Rams won’t let Jared Goff walk
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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....
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                  • Nick
                    How good, or bad, will Jared Goff be in Year 2? It's anybody's guess
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                    How good, or bad, will Jared Goff be in Year 2? It's anybody's guess
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                    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, 02:31 PM
                  • Nick
                    Is McVay helping Goff at the line of scrimmage?
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                    Interesting (or maybe not) discussion on PFT Live...

                    -11-28-2017, 06:50 PM