Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff deserves MVP consideration

It was another big day for the Rams offense on Sunday, and yet there is no discussion about their quarterback winning MVP


The 2016 Los Angeles Rams were a joke. It was their first year in a new city, and while it came with all the buzz of Hard Knocks and a shiny new quarterback, the product on the field was appalling, and they were soon without a head coach and at the foot of the NFL.

In 2017 though, they are much-changed, and while the new coach Sean McVay is rightly receiving Coach of the Year talk, their quarterback is not receiving the credit he deserves. Let’s change that.

The struggles of Jared Goff

Last year Jared Goff looked lost. He may have been the #1 pick, but he was far from NFL ready. He hadn’t called a huddle or taken a snap from under center in years. He was kept on the bench behind a struggling Case Keenum for weeks as the Rams floundered, and there was a lot of worry that simply the fact of him being held off the field was proof that he was a bust.

When Goff did see the field he did little to change that perception. He completed just 54.6% of his passes, threw five touchdowns to seven interceptions, and managed a truly awful 5.3 yards per attempt. While he didn’t qualify for the category, his quarterback rating of 63.6 was below every single quarterback that did, including the train-wreck that was Brock Osweiler.

He was lost at every turn, from center-quarterback exchanges to pocket footwork and progressing through reads. It looked like he would enter the lists of biggest draft busts of all time along with Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell. And then Sean McVay came along.

Meet the new boss

McVay may be young, but he came over from Washington with a good resume as an offensive mastermind. The Redskins under McVay were one of the most impressive passing offenses, despite relatively limited personnel, and he was able to maintain a reasonable running game as well. Despite his youth he was handed the reins of the Rams, and importantly given Wade Phillips to oversee the defense so that he could concentrate on fixing the many, many errors of the Jeff Fisher system.

Under this new regime, Jared Goff has been unrecognizable from last season. If it wasn’t for the #16 on his chest you’d swear it was a new quarterback slinging bombs for the Rams this season. On Sunday Goff threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns, taking his season stat line beyond anything even the biggest optimist could have expected.

Passing YardsCompletion PercentageTouchdownsInterceptionsYards per AttemptQB Rating
Jared Goff 20161,08954.6575.363.6
Jared Goff 20172,38561.21648.5101.5

Goff’s level of play has been not only the proof of Sean McVay’s system, but a massive indictment of Jeff Fisher’s coaching.

The 2017 Goff has been stepping up in the pocket where the 2016 Goff would keep dropping back, he has been moving seamlessly through his progressions rather than blindly throwing to the first receiver or immediately scrambling. As a result of improved footwork and not starring down his receivers he has becoming far more accurate and a much trickier read for safeties and linebackers.

While all of this sounds like an excellent argument for Sean McVay as Coach of the Year, which it is, why is it not one for Jared Goff as MVP?

The 2017 MVP discussion

So far this year the MVP discussion has been dominated by Goff’s draft-mate Carson Wentz, who has made his own big steps forward so far this season.

Wentz leads the 8-1 Eagles, who own the best record in the NFL. That is one reason why he is gaining such support for the MVP title, together with the big plays and impressive numbers he is putting up.

Passing YardsCompletion PercentageTouchdownsInterceptionsYards per AttemptQB Rating
Jared Goff2,38561.21648.5101.5
Carson Wentz2,26260.52357.8104.1

When put side to side though, there really is very little difference between the two. Goff is completing passes more frequently, for more yards, and is throwing interceptions less often. While Wentz has found the endzone seven more times, the Rams are scoring 32.9 points a game and Goff has Todd Gurley to run it in the redzone. The Eagles are scoring 31.4 points a game. Again, it’s a small difference, but so is everything else.

If you were just to listen to the talking heads and sports radio you’d think that Wentz was on pace for record-breaking numbers and was the only quarterback doing well in 2017. The truth is that Jared Goff is playing as well as anyone right now and deserves to be in the discussion for the league’s highest honor.

Tough times coming

There is a potential bump in the road for Goff, but with that bump comes a chance to truly shine. While the Rams offense has feasted on the likes of the 49ers, Giants, and Colts, they have games against Minnesota, New Orleans, Seattle, and Wentz’s Eagles in the next five weeks.

All four of those opponents boast good defenses that make live difficult for quarterbacks both with a good pass rush and impressive pieces in coverage. The Saints and Eagles also have offenses that can score quickly and dominate possession.

If Goff comes through these tests with numbers that are still easily comparable to those at the top of the mountain, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be considered the NFL’s MVP.







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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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