Last year at this time, the biggest questions surrounding the Los Angeles Rams was whether L.A. would take a quarterback in the middle of the first round of the 2016 draft, and could Case Keenum be “the guy.”
One year later, fans in L.A. may have answers to those two questions, but are still far from having the solution to what ails the Rams.
Case Keenum wasn’t “the guy”, and Jared Goff is still a considerable work in progress.
Most importantly is the general consensus that what the Rams have done, at least thus far in 2017, isn’t likely to move the team beyond 2016. That is UNLESS Jared Goff makes a quantum leap by being not just better than Case Keenum was in his stint as a starter, but better than he himself was in his seven games.
Fact is, the Seattle Seahawks remain the standard bearer in the NFC West, and based on what Arizona, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have done, it’s still Seattle and everyone else.
That said, Arizona is the team to catch despite the Rams odd ability to play and win against the Seahawks. The Cardinals are a team working their way back to the pack of a mediocre division. L.A. also can’t count on the 49ers to be only slightly worse next season, as they look to improve in a big way given their position in this year’s draft.
If you’re a Rams fan, the equation is a simple one: so goes Goff, so go Los Angeles.
Prospect Watch:: Looking at the latest team to show interest in RB Joe Mixion
Rams Need JuJu: Is Smith-Schuster a good fit in Los Angeles?
Cunningham To Chicago: Gurley’s back-up heads to Chicago
It’s that simple.
Looking back at 2016, it’s hard to find a game where Goff makes the difference where Keenum didn’t. Conversely, find me seven games where Keenum wins and Goff doesn’t?
That may say more about last season’s QB controversy that never really was.
The Rams saw the best of Case Keenum in 2015, so by contrast, Jared Goff still remains a remarkable upgrade. Imagine if he gets just a little more protection from a better O-line performance, production from Tyler Higbee, and the option of a running back who can catch the football out of the backfield.
And yes I know, the Rams still need a center.
The gap between Los Angeles and Seattle is still considerable, and that won’t change for a while. But being number two in a mediocre division by overtaking Arizona is closer than most may think. The Cardinals aren’t getting better but they are getting older, especially at quarterback and wide receiver, and the holes on defense are considerable.
The defense is still this L.A.’s calling card, which means all roads lead back to the second year quarterback. If he plays better by getting better, the Rams get better.
Like I said, it’s that simple.