The 2018 version of the Los Angeles Rams will take the field together Monday for the start of OTAs.
Jared Goff will be there and there will a lot of eyes to see if the now third-year quarterback can continue to develop with the new weapons that he has around him. There will be a lot of questions regarding that development.
Below are five numbers about Goff that outline both his strengths and what he needs to work on:
2.93 – The average amount of time Goff had to throw. With the signings of Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan, the offense line took a huge leap forward in 2018, and that had a lot to do with Goff’s improvement from year one to year two.
The Rams quarterback had nearly three-seconds to throw on every drop-back, which was the fifth-best mark in the league.
A lot of this had to do with the better offensive line, but also Goff’s ability to not rush throws and rather let plays develop and see the field. That’s a far cry from a rookie season that saw him get sacked more in seven games than he did all of 2017.
After taking too many hits, a lot of time quarterbacks will start to “see ghosts” and rush plays or develop a tendency to look down at the oncoming rushers. That wasn’t the case with Goff. The way he was able to forget his rookie season and start on a clean slate was admirable.
Going back to the offensive line, they stayed extremely healthy last season. With Saffold, Sullivan, and Whitworth getting up in age, that may not be the case again this year, which could have a negative affect on this number.
14.3 – The percentage of aggressive passing attempts Goff made into tight coverage where there is a defender within one yard of the receiver at the time of the completion or incompletion.
Jared Goff has a tendency to play it safe. That’s great when it comes to limiting turnovers, but it also means he’s not taking chances and trusting his playmakers.
Goff’s 14.3% aggressiveness was the third-lowest mark among full-time starters last season ranking higher than just Joe Flacco and Alex Smith. One of those quarterbacks had their replacement drafted and the other got traded in the offseason.
To compare this to others around the league, the NFL average was 17.3, Carson Wentz’ was 25.7%, and Dak Prescott, who is known for playing it safe, was at a 19.2%.
McVay kept things simple for Goff in year two. McVay called an offense to help build in quarterback’s confidence heading into year three.
However, this is what will separate Goff from being good and great. He must take more chances with the football. That doesn’t mean he should be reckless, but if he is to take that next step, he needs to be able to complete more of these tightly contested throws.
23 – The number of touchdowns Jared Goff threw in the red zone last season. While the Rams struggled when they got inside the 20, it certainly wasn’t because of their quarterback.
Goff was one of the most efficient passers in the red zone last season. He completed 54.76% of his passes, 28.3% of all his red zone passes resulted in touchdowns, and 50% of his red zone completions ended with six.
These numbers ranked 9th, 10th and 11th in the NFL respectively. His 23 touchdowns in the red zone ranked 3rd behind just Tom Brady and Carson Wentz. He also didn’t throw a single interception inside the 20 in 2017.
Overall, the Rams often struggled in the red zone last season. If they want to become true Super Bowl contenders, the Rams must improve inside the 20-yard line, and having Goff under center will certainly help.
6 – The number of Game Jared Goff threw for 225 yards of less. The Rams quarterback was stellar at times; his games against Tennessee, New Orleans, and Houston really stand out.
From a season standpoint, he and Kurt Warner are the only Rams quarterbacks to have thrown for 300 yards and four touchdowns twice in the same year. When Goff threw for 225 yards and no interceptions, the team was 8-0 during the regular season.
However, while he was stellar, he also had his less than stellar moments. There were games whem the Rams needed him to pick them up and he was unable to.
The Vikings game comes to mind. Minnesota held Todd Gurley to only had 15 carries for 37 yards that day. You could also throw in the matchup against Philadelphia.
In those games, Goff threw for just 225 and 199 yards respectively. These are two top teams in the conference where solid quarterback play could have been the difference between playing Atlanta in the Wild Card Round or having home field advantage in the NFC.
Goff threw for 225 yards or less in six games. The Rams lost three of those games and the other three are games where the rest of the team came up big.
For example, Gurley took over in the win against Seattle, rushing for 152 yards. Goff threw for 120 yards in that game.
Special teams and defense played a huge part in the team’s victory over Jacksonville with two touchdowns. Goff produced just 124 yards in that one.
There was also the second win against Arizona when once again it was Gurley with 154 all purpose yards.
The Rams went 3-3 in games that Goff threw for 225 yards or less compared to 8-1 when he surpassed that mark. To put it in perspective, Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers had a combined 15 such games and went a perfect 15-0.
104.4 – Jared Goff’s passer rating in conversion situations. Quarterbacks make their money in the red zone and on when it matters on third and fourth down. Not many were better than Jared Goff in either area in 2017.
Goff’s passer rating trailed only Matthew Stafford in such situations.
The Rams were one of the most successful teams in conversion situations last season compared to being by far the worst the season before. A lot of that turnaround can be attributed to Jared Goff. Under McVay, the offense was far more successful on first and second down, which made third down situations much more manageable.
In fact, Goff’s air yards to the sticks, which indicates if the QB is attempting his passes past the 1st down marker, or if he is relying on his skill position players to make yards after catch, improved from a second to league-worst -1.6 to just -0.3 which is right around the NFL average.
Honorable Mention – 112.6
Jared Goff’s passer rating when targeting Cooper Kupp was an impressive 112.6. Among the QB-receiving duos with more than 100 targets, Goff to Kupp ranked second in the NFL behind just Matthew Stafford to Marvin Jones.
The rookie wide receiver showed a lot of promise and the QB-WR connection could very well become something special as both players continue to develop and grow with each other.
Another connection worth mentioning is Goff to Sammy Watkins, which posted a 118.5 rating with fewer than 80 targets while Brady to Cooks recorded a 103.1 rating. Both numbers are respectable.
Jared Goff’s 2017 season was one of the best seasons for a Rams quarterback in awhile. After his rookie season, his sophomore year didn’t seem possible. Year three will be need to be even bigger if he wants to take that next step.