There are a few different ways to look at the fact that No. 1 pick Jared Goff will spend his first NFL game as an inactive observer. It’s less than ideal and not what was expected, but on a certain level I applaud the decision.
The kid is not ready and the Rams did not try to pretend he was. It would’ve been easy to let him go out there and start taking his beatings and learning his lessons as the NFL makes its big return to Los Angeles. The Rams could have pushed him as the face of the franchise and mounted a full-blown marketing campaign. But he isn’t ready and might not be for a bit and going ahead and letting him sit behind two veterans, at least for a week, is prudent as far as I’m concerned. It might not be the sexiest business decision, but we’re playing football here.
Now, on the flip side, you can’t convince me anyone with that franchise is real happy about this (save for Case Keenum, perhaps).
This isn’t what anyone had in mind when the Rams made the bold move to package a ransom of picks and move up to the first overall pick for the California quarterback who had already played big-time college football in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. And it’s not exactly like he entered a quarterback room with Joe Montana and Steve Young blocking his path to the starting role.
This was the least effective quarterback group in the NFL in 2015, and this is Keenum and Sean Mannion we’re talking about here in LA. The thought of having them be in uniform and Goff wearing shorts for the big season opener on Monday Night Football is not what anyone had in mind.
None of it will matter and all of it will be forgotten if Goff develops as hoped. But in the short-term, the optics are less than ideal. One assumes that by the time the Rams make their home debut, Goff is at least holding the clipboard in uniform. While Keenum is a gamer and I love the spirit he brings to the huddle and his ability to wrench every iota of ability from his body, I suspect Goff is playing NFL football by midseason.
The decision to make Goff inactive has engendered some talk among their peers and rivals around the league, of course, as you might anticipate. Some are of the mindset that, had coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead secured their much talked-about extensions already, it would make it a little easier to go ahead and play the kid passer, however green he may be, and begin the process of bringing him along as their futures will clearly be tied to his.
Instead, as Fisher and Snead enter this week still in line for new deals but with nothing announced, well, probably best to go ahead and play your best game-ready QB and try to beat a moribund 49ers team and win some early games and make it a little easier for owner Stan Kroenke to go ahead and stroke those checks.
Human nature and all, even subconsciously.
Regardless, I like the fact that, with Goff not winning the job, clearly, they aren’t just giving it to him so easily. At least not just yet. They absolutely, positively need to get this right with the first-overall pick, or any extensions might not mean much by the time Kroenke opens his new stadium in Inglewood in 2019.
More news and notes from around the NFL:
While I’m not bullish on the Bears, they have been sending young execs up the ranks to other teams and Champ Kelly could well be the next in line for promotion. Kelly did great work for the Broncos before moving to Chicago to assist young GM Ryan Pace there and his experience as part of a top front office there will continue to serve him well.
New York Jets
If the Jets have the season I expect, their young and talented personnel executive Brian Heimerdinger is going to start making the rounds on GM interviews, I reckon. He’s a smart cookie who comes from a great football family and is primed for big things.
I told you guys a few weeks back, when I was at Eagles camp, that GM Howie Roseman wasn’t close to being done dealing and that I expected three more trades from this club before the dust settled Week 1. And while no one could have foreseen the Sam Bradford trade — Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t injured yet at the time — the front office continues to clear out players with strong Chip Kelly ties. Few teams, if any, have worked the phones as hard as Philadelphia this summer.
They still aren’t done. Within a short period of finalizing the deal that sent Eric Rowe to New England, the Eagles were trying to move offensive lineman Josh Kline, who, was originally in the package for Rowe. But the Eagles were unable to deal Kline, who ended up returning to New England. Then the Patriots released Kline this morning.
The Eagles had continued to shop offensive lineman Josh Andrews and also told teams they would move interior lineman Stefan Wisniewski as well under the right circumstances. Roster shuffling is ongoing and with the trade deadline still months away, I wouldn’t rule out another significant swap or two — especially since this Eagles team is not going to be very good. Chip Kelly’s draft picks/signings/busts are dwindling, but the ones left shouldn’t get too comfortable.
I like the aggressive approach and the willingness to push the trade market in a league where many are afraid. The Eagles have spent a ridiculous amount of money, so they must now show restraint in free agency. They also parted with a ton of picks to move up and take Carson Wentz second overall, so they are looking for young and cheap future picks to help offset those losses.
They might not be good, but they sure won’t be boring. I still wish they were sitting Wentz at least through their bye in Week 4, but it’s clear this team is playing for the future and aiming for a big run a few years from now. The Eagles figure they might as well start Wentz’s clock now and get his roughest play out of the way now to position him to try to take off in Year 2.
It’s been easy to rip the 49ers in recent years, and I’ve certainly partaken in that exercise (as they have courted such commentary), but they deserve high marks for how they have handled this Colin Kaepernick situation. He has Constitutional Rights and protected speech and protest rights and even going down the road of trying to terminate him for not standing for the national anthem would have been yet another legal battle this league does not need.
The fact is, as much as Chip Kelly has been trying to make this Blaine Gabbert reclamation attempt a pet project all offseason, Kaepernick is the best (only?) quarterback on that roster and he was coming off a series of surgeries and procedures that robbed him of his spring and stunted his summer. Casting him aside for nothing and eating a bunch of salary now — after the team stubbornly refused to eat a small portion to facilitate a trade to Denver months ago — would have been shortsighted.
Let this thing play out, let the situation breathe — and maybe finally some of the bad blood between the quarterback and the franchise is finally dissipating. I have a feeling they’ll need him again on the field soon enough.
And finally …
Week 1 is always tricky from a point spread perspective, but I have a feeling the Steelers make things lopsided in Washington on Monday night, and, for what might end up being the only time all year, I like the Brownies and the points.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Why sitting Jared Goff is smart for a Rams coach, GM seeking new deals