The Rams have thumb QB crisis

THE RAMS have lost two straight, and some of the problem is with quarterback Jared Goff (Flickr).

Poor Jared Goff. After two underwhelming performances as the Los Angeles Rams’ starting quarterback, he now is likely to miss the rest of the 2020 season. Of course, it’s a season that may be shorter because of … pardon the pun … his shortcomings against the then-winless New York Jets a week ago and then the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

He suffered a broken and dislocated right thumb yesterday. Although Goff is hopeful of playing in the Rams’ crucial contest against Arizona next Sunday, it’s very possible that his backup, John Wolford, an undrafted rookie from Wake Forest, will take snaps instead. It’s a must-win game. The Rams have to win to lock up a wild card playoff spot.

But, frankly, the problem with Goff in the 23-9 loss to Seattle – which clinched the NFC West title – or the 23-20 defeat at the hands of the NY Jets – is not really in his hand, but in his legs. Or, more accurately, what his brain chooses to do with his legs.

He doesn’t run. He is a classic drop-back quarterback, almost an anomaly in this era of sprint-out, scramble and dive signal-callers.  That means if no one is really open, he will often try to squeeze a pass into a space as thin as a tax auditor’s smile.

If he can’t thread that needle, he often gets intercepted. In the last three games he’s thrown for three touchdowns and three interceptions, a terrible ratio. He leads the league in interceptions with 23. To be fair, he ran for a season-high 23 yards against Seattle, but there were several instances in which he might have gained a first down if he had taken off or plunged ahead with some zeal.

It’s therefore ironic that he suffered his injury not while running but when he smacked his hand on a pass-rusher’s helmet while throwing a pass.

We’re not saying that Jared is some kind of faint heart. “He was tough and gutsy and just continued to battle for his teammates,” said Rams coach Sean McVay as Goff continued to play after his injury. It’s just that he’s not the kind of mobile quarterback that is called for in today’s NFL.

Could Wolford be the guy? He hasn’t seen a lot of action, but in his senior year of college he capped it with a bowl game performance of 400+ yards passing and 65 yards rushing. That doesn’t prove that he can play at an NFL star level. But, frankly – injury or not – it doesn’t look like Goff can, either.

–– Pete Zarustica




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