Rams quarterback Jared Goff is a new player this season after seven rough starts last season. Honestly, rough is probably too nice, but Goff was operating in a poor offensive system with a lack of personnel around him. This year Goff has a new, stronger offensive line and a plethora of targets to go to on the outside. Couple those factors with new head coach Sean McVay, quarterback guru and offensive mastermind, and the Rams quarterback seems primed for success.
Now Goff is operating in a shiny new Rams offense that is allowing him to make smart decisions and put the ball in the hands of his weapons. While still within the first 16 starts of his professional career he is playing at a high level and silencing the doubters who prematurely deemed him a “bust”. He is also drawing recognition from former Rams as one of the most exciting parts of this Rams teams, specifically Marshall Faulk and Eric Dickerson.
After Sunday’s win Goff got over 2,000 passing yards for the season, putting him on pace for 4,000 on the year. He has also thrown 13 touchdowns which is a solid number up to this point. Quite impressively for a young quarterback Goff has only thrown four interceptions, showing his ability to make good decisions with the football. At the end of the day the team that wins the turnover battle in an NFL game typically comes out victorious, Goff is helping his team to do that.
Back to our question, is Goff “elite”. The short answer is no, that title can not be earned after just eight games of really strong quarterback play. However, there is no doubt that Goff has played at an elite level at times this season and is certainly on the right track. In the strongest performance of his career on Sunday Goff threw for over 300 yards and passed for four touchdowns, both career highs. He also posted a staggering passer rating of 146.9, not far from the perfect mark of 158.3.
In order for Goff to truly attain the elite label he will need to improve his play against top-of-the-shelf secondaries. That doesn’t mean he has to throw the ball all over the field when facing top units, because the gameplay will typically not allow for that. However, it is crucial that Goff is able to be more effective in those games.
For example, Goff struggled against the Seahawks earlier this season and completed less than 50 percent of his passes. Also throwing for no touchdowns and two interceptions Goff played arguably his worst game of the season that week. In the two following weeks Goff was a little better, even if the stats do not reflect it. Throwing for less than 200 yards against Jacksonville Goff did just enough to help his team win and did a good job protecting the football. The following week Todd Gurley ran all over the Cardinals and Goff was able to sit back and manage the game, which he did quite well.
While many fans felt that Goff just needed to be a game manager this season, he has far exceeded those expectations. The young quarterback has flashed elite potential and is playing at a Pro Bowl level in my opinion. However, in order to truly reach elite status Goff will have to put together these strong performances against elite defenses and secondaries.
Regardless of titles and status Goff has played his team to first in the NFC West thus far in the season. Especially given Sean McVay’s “we not me” approach to football, I’m sure Goff is going to be happy with this success regardless of his classification.