When the 2016 NFL season kicked off over the weekend, there were two rookie quarterbacks on the field. However, as you may have noticed, none of them were named Jared Goff.
Not only did Goff spend the first week of his NFL career on the bench, but things were so bad for him that he didn’t even get to suit up for the Rams‘ season-opening loss to the 49ers on Monday.
That’s right, Goff was inactive for the team’s humiliating 28-0 loss. For the first game of the season, Rams coach Jeff Fisher decided to give the starting job to Case Keenum and make Sean Mannion his No. 2 quarterback.
Despite the fact that Keenum put up disastrous numbers against the 49ers (17 of 35, 130 yards, two interceptions), Fisher insisted after the game that he’s going to stick with Keenum as his starting quarterback.
“This doesn’t change anything with the quarterbacks right now,” Fisher said.
After watching the Rams’ debacle on Monday night, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora says that the Rams should go with Goff as their starter in Week 2. After all, he can’t do much worse than Keenum did on Monday.
So why is Fisher so hesitant to start Goff?
Keyshawn Johnson thinks he knows the reason.
The former NFL receiver says that Fisher didn’t even want to take Goff in April’s draft. According to Johnson, who was the No. 1 pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, Fisher was “forced” to take Goff with the top pick.
“From my outside people and the inside people that I know with the Rams, that wasn’t the choice that Jeff Fisher really wanted. I think he was basically forced to draft Jared Goff,” Johnson said on The Stephen A. Smith Show.
So who did Fisher want over Goff?
“I think he wanted more players,” Johnson said. “I think he wanted more players because he felt that he could be more competitive with more players, but they felt they needed to make a splash moving into Los Angeles and drafting a quarterback.”
If Fisher did want “more players,” then he probably hated the trade the moved the Rams up to the No. 1 spot in the NFL Draft. To get to the top spot, the Rams had to send their first-round pick, two 2016 second-round picks, a third-round pick and two 2017 draft picks (in the first and third rounds).
That’s a heavy draft price to pay if you’re a coach who was hoping to stockpile picks in order to build roster depth. After the Rams made the trade with Tennessee, they were left with just one pick in the top three rounds, and that pick was Goff.
As for Johnson, the Los Angeles-based ESPN analyst says the Rams blew it by talking Goff with the top pick.
“I don’t care what anybody say, and I say this all the time: I’ve seen Jared Goff for three years. Three years out here in the Pac-12. I like him. He’s a nice kid, but he wouldn’t have been my No. 1 overall pick,” Johnson said. “He just wouldn’t have been. He doesn’t give me … This isn’t Andrew Luck or Cam Newton we’re talking about. You don’t move up to take this type of guy.”
As for why Goff hasn’t cracked the starting lineup, Johnson blames everyone equally for that problem.
“Well, I think it’s about everybody. I think it’s the people that have to get Jared Goff prepared. I think it’s about the individuals that made the decision to draft him, whether it was [Rams COO] Kevin Demoff or whether it was [general manager] Les Snead with a little bit of help from Jeff Fisher.”
Rams owner Stan Kroenke isn’t the type of guy who’s going to accept failure with a new stadium set to open in just three years. If the Rams don’t figure out things soon, there could be another big splash in Los Angeles, and there’s a good chance this one could involve Fisher being out of a job.
(Wink of the CBS Eye to TurfShow Times)
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Keyshawn Johnson: Jeff Fisher didn’t want to take Jared Goff with top pick