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Jared Goff’s Mile-High Weather and Altitude Test

October 14th, 2018 · No Comments · Football, Los Angeles Rams, NFL

I was as badly wrong about Jared Goff as … well, just about anyone or anything over a long stretch of time.

Back in 2016, his rookie season, I was suggesting the Los Angeles Rams quarterback was in big trouble even before the season began, and then declared him a top-of-the-draft disaster. Or nearly did. (“Goff … may be a bust.”)

He started the final seven games of a 4-12 season, and lost them all, and looked awful. Clueless, hapless, scared, lost.

Rams fans, and I, were cringing over the cost of the team trading up to get the top pick from the Tennessee Titans. Which led to Goff. Two first-round picks, two seconds and two thirds, in the 2016 and 2017 drafts.

After making his debut in the 10th game of the season, Goff suffered those seven defeats, as well as seven interceptions, five TD passes and a disastrous 63.6 quarterback rating for the worst offense in the NFL.

The team’s greatest hope, I suggested at the end of the 2016 season, was the Rams finding a coach ready to “take on the Jared Goff Project — personally, or with a fantastic QB coach”.

Which is exactly what they did, in hiring Sean McVay. Since that inspired move, the Rams are 16-5 in regular-season games, including 5-0 this season.

And today?

Goff pretty much has a final test to demonstrate he is one of the league’s top quarterbacks by winning in bad weather, and at altitude.

In snow, that is. In Denver.

Looking at the TV images from Denver, we can see that the playing surface is covered by snow, which is still falling, and scheduled to continue falling through the game. It is 26 degrees there.

The Rams are a warm-weather team, obviously, and clubs that play where it doesn’t snow are assumed to be incapable of playing well in wintry conditions. Unable to hold a cold and wet ball. Limited mostly to the running game. Likely to lose.

(Go back far enough, and three really good Chuck Knox Rams teams, in the mid-1970s, were ousted from the playoffs on days when it was quite cold and/or raining.)

The Rams now have the best offense in the NFL, by yards gained, and are third in points, having scored 33 or more points in their first five games, and Goff and his precision passing get much of the credit for it.

Sure, McVay is a very clever young man, but Goff is running the offense with aplomb. As if that alarming 2016 interlude had never happened.

We have 21 regular-season games now to appreciate that Goff, given time to throw, not only is competent, he is very good.

About all he has not done is add a bad-weather victory to his list of achievements.

He has the opportunity to do that today, and if the Rams take care of the ball, starting with Goff, they may be able to overcome the altitude and the wintry weather.

And that would check two of the dwindling number of “to do” boxes behind Goff’s name. “Win in bad weather? A mile above sea level? Check and check!”

That would leave “winning in the playoffs” and “winning the Super Bowl” as the last two things to do on the resume of the guy we thought was a massive mistake.



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