The Los Angeles Rams on Thursday finally received the news that they had been waiting for as rookie quarterback Jared Goff was cleared from the concussion protocol allowing him to play against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night.
Interim head coach John Fassel stated that 2016 first overall pick participated fully in practice for a second straight day in the team's last practice of the week leading up to the game.
“He looked good," Fassel said. "He cleared the concussion protocol. So, he did everything all week in meetings and ramped up his work on the practice field up to today. So, he’s good to go – he looked good.”
Goff had been placed into the concussion protocol after suffering a brutal hit from Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman on a 15-yard scramble late in the fourth quarter of last Thursday's 24-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The outcome of the play immediately led to the Rams pulling him out of the game to conduct the mandatory concussion protocol due to the blow occurring near his head/neck area.
In hindsight of that play, Goff stated on Thursday that he would have handled that situation much differently had he seen Sherman coming toward him.
“I was running down the sideline, didn’t see Sherman, if I had seen him, I probably would have gone out of bounds," Goff said. " I didn’t see him, he kind of came out of nowhere. He made a hell of a play, after watching it on film, he came all the way from the other side of the field. I felt fine, he hit me in the head, but I was fine, it was just a regular hit. I got up, went back to the huddle, I heard the official blow the whistle and they’re like, ‘You have to get off the field,’ I’m like, ‘Why?’ They said it’s just protocol, whatever it was."
Although Goff didn't agree with the decision to take him out of the game, he does believe that he needs to learn how to protect himself better whenever chooses to scramble out of the pocket.
"I do need to protect myself a little bit better," Goff said. "Again, if I had seen him, I probably would have protected myself, but he kind of came out of nowhere there. But he’s right, I do need to protect myself a little better and try to balance the going-for-its and protecting my body.”
Goff had put himself in a similar position late in the game against the Atlanta Falcons as he was sandwiched between a pair of defenders at the goal line on his first career rushing touchdown. That said, Fassel is hoping that the team can see an overall improvement from their young quarterback over the last couple of games.
“I’m hoping to see improvement in, really everything – accuracy, decision-making, getting out of bounds, sliding, even the little things that are intricate to the quarterback position," Fassel said. "He’s been a great leader, so that isn’t anything that’s ever been an issue. He’s studied. I think just in general, improvement in throwing the football, and making decisions with the ball in his hands.”
“He’s been anxious since the first game of the season and he’s hung in there the last 15 weeks, and abided his time." Fassel said. "He has been in the quarterback room with (QB) Case (Keenum) and Jared every day – morning, noon, and night. He’s earned it. I’m sure if he has the opportunity, he’ll perform very well.”