The Los Angeles Rams in just a couple of short days will open up the 2016 season on the road against NFC West divisional rival San Francisco 49ers. Aside from situation surrounding Colin Kaepernick, the chatter heading into the game has been on rookie Jared Goff being placed as an inactive as the third string quarterback.
Head Coach Jeff Fisher has addressed this topic for over the last week since making this decision. That said, he is more than confident that Case Keenum can get the job done as the starting quarterback.
“We knew (QB) Case (Keenum), we saw what he can do, we saw how he finished the year (2015), we traded for Case — people forget that because of his ability,” Fisher said. “He’s done a great job this offseason, Preseason games, not exhibition games, preseason games — he’s ready to go.”
Keenum provided stability under center last season in six games, including going 3-2 in five starts completing 61% of his passes for 828 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.
He has also looked like a capable quarterback in his limited action in the preseason displaying poise in the pocket while also looking to test the defense at times with his arm. The 28-year-old voiced plenty of excitement about getting the opportunity to play in his first career Week 1 start.
“It’s exciting, it’s Monday Night Football. It’s a divisional opponent. First time for it to be my show starting out and not just taking over like, ‘Oh crap, send out Case now,’” Keenum said. “It’s been something we’ve been prepared for for a long time. I’m excited, I really am. The first time putting on a jersey with ‘Los Angeles’ on the front of it. I get to represent our city and our team. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Meanwhile, Goff hasn’t exactly taken the route that many had hoped for coming as the first overall pick in this year’s draft. He has instead looked like a quarterback that needs more time to get acclimated to playing in the NFL.
In the preseason, the 21-year-old struggled as he completed 22 of 49 passes for 232 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions, two fumbles, and was sacked four times. Fisher is hoping that Goff can use this situation to grow from moving forward.
“One of the challenges for the younger players this week, as I told all of them this morning, is to prepare yourself to play without getting (practice) reps,” Fisher said. “They all come in here from college programs where they got all the reps and now they’ve found themselves in the positions, where they don’t get reps. It’s harder to backup than it is to start.
“That’s the nature of the National Football League. But Jared has good feel for where we’re at. He wants to play, and I want him to play, but we’re not there yet.”
Although this isn’t the position he thought he would be in heading into the first week of his rookie season, Goff has kept a level head about the process with his eyes fixated on the bigger picture.
“It’s something that we talked about. There’s a multitude of reasons for it. I don’t know if it’s for one thing in particular, but it’s just what they decided to do this week,” Goff said. “I’m just going to be patient, wait until my number is called, and continue to get ready out on the field, and continue to practice as hard as I can. When my number is called, be ready.”