THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Jared Goff talked to Carson Wentz a couple of weeks ago, congratulating his offseason training partner on a stellar start to his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
And then Goff went back to waiting for his own chance to make things happen for the Los Angeles Rams.
“I don’t think I’ve ever gone backward,” Goff said Wednesday. “I’ve gotten better every week, every day, so I feel good.”
The No. 1 pick in the NFL draft hasn’t played a snap through five games for the Rams, whose season is off to a solid 3-2 start in spite of the NFL’s least productive offense. Coach Jeff Fisher and his staff have given no indication Goff will debut anytime soon, instead praising Case Keenum’s performances for the struggling unit.
Goff works with his fellow backups in practice and studies intently in the film room, but spends his Sundays on the sideline analyzing defenses for Keenum. The rookie will be on the sideline again when the Rams visit Detroit (2-3) on Sunday.
“All around, I’m just trying to improve and make everything become second nature,” Goff said. “Continue to get better and continue to feel more natural in the offense.”
Goff spent Tuesday night watching his San Francisco Giants melt down in the NL Division Series, but he also pays attention to the rest of the NFL — and sees his fellow rookies having success. Along with Wentz’s strong start in Philly, Dak Prescott is doing exceptionally well in Dallas. Jacoby Brissett and Cody Kessler also have already started games as rookies.
“Every situation is different,” Goff said. “All these guys that are doing well right now, I’m very happy for them. Most of them I’m good friends with, and they’ve done a really good job.”
Although Keenum has the NFC’s 15th-best passer rating at 75.4, the veteran has done a capable job of managing the Rams’ offense, which clearly has bigger problems than the quarterback. For instance, star running back Todd Gurley is averaging 2.7 yards per carry.
Although another loss or two could change everything, the Rams don’t appear overly anxious to see what they’ve got with Goff, who is still learning the nuances of coordinator Rob Boras’ offense.
“A lot of times, you understand how a person is learning by the questions he’s asking,” Boras said. “(Goff) is not asking rookie questions anymore. He’s starting to ask those more advanced (questions). … The easiest way to understand if somebody knows it is when they can regurgitate it back to you, and he’s able to do that right now. (He can) ask you some of those questions where you’ve got to look up at the sky and try to think, ‘OK, that’s a good one,’ and try to give him the right answer.”
While Fisher and Boras insist things are getting better, the Rams had the NFL’s worst offense last season, and they have the NFL’s worst offense again through five weeks this fall. They’ve managed just 284.2 yards per game, and they rank near the bottom in most statistical categories, including an NFL-low nine trips to their opponents’ red zone for just four touchdowns — 28th-best in the league.
Fans increased their calls for Goff’s debut after Los Angeles struggled in a 30-19 home loss to Buffalo last week. Goff turns 22 years old on Friday when the Rams head out on a two-game road trip to Detroit and London, where they’ll face the New York Giants.
Goff will return a year older, but it’s too soon to tell whether he’ll get his first snaps along the way.
“He’s putting a lot of work in as if he’s the starter, which I know is not an easy thing to do, especially for a young player,” Boras said. “But to watch him go ahead and study Detroit and get ready for this week as if he’s playing, I think that says a lot about his maturity as a 21-year-old.”