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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.

    Again.
    Last edited by RealRam; -07-09-2019, 04:25 PM. Reason: 'Again'

    Comment


    • #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.
      temp_4394_1467243487543_20
      RAMS!

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      • #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.

        Comment


        • #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!

          Comment


          • #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:

            Comment


            • #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.

              Comment


              • #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.


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                • #9
                  Good point / observations / post Seacone.

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