The Los Angeles Rams worked hard for a 9-6 victory at the New York Jets last week. Now they head home to host the Miami Dolphins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum this Sunday, November 20 (1:05 p.m. PT, TV: FOX, Radio: ESPN 710 A.M./100.3 F.M. The Sound).
The Rams’ matchup against the Dolphins marks the beginning of a new era. The No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft Jared Goff will make his debut. After 10 weeks of sitting on the bench behind veteran Case Keenum, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has decided that it is time for the former Cal standout to lead his team. Fisher believes that Goff’s progress on the practice field in addition to his football awareness inside the film room was enough to give the rookie the starting job over Keenum:
“It was just Jared’s progress, and the progression week, after week, after week,” Fisher said. “Preparing to be a two, preparing to be a play away from going in. When he got the reps over the last three or four weeks, they were right, they were good, they were good decisions, so it was time.”
Goff is taking over an offense that has sputtered over the last three games. After scoring 10 points in the first quarter of the Rams’ 17-10 defeat at the hands of the New York Giants in Week 7, L.A. has scored just one touchdown since then. One of Goff’s challenges will be reviving an offense that once again is near the bottom in every major offensive category this season. With the Rams mustering just 15.4 points per game (last in the NFL) and 308.4 yards per game (31st in the NFL), including 225.4 pass yards and 82.6 yards per game (25th and 29th in the NFL respectively), Goff is tasked with jumpstarting a moribund offense.
Goff must jumpstart the offense while facing a Miami defense that continues to play well. Their defensive line, in particular, provides solid pressure. The Dolphins defense has also spearheaded a surge in the standings. They have won four games in a row, including stunning 31-24 comeback victory over the San Diego Chargers last week where the Miami defense had four interceptions.
Expect Miami’s defense to rush Goff early and often, and the challenge now for Rams offensive coordinator Rob Boras is to involve all of his playmakers, including struggling running back Todd Gurley, who is averaging just 3.0 yards per game this season. Kenny Britt, Lance Kendricks, and Tavon Austin are going to have to step their games up to make Goff’s debut a successful one. The Rams defense will once again have to play a near flawless game to give L.A. a chance in this matchup.
Sources: Alden Gonzalez, ESPN, ESPN.com, NFL.com
Martin Cruz is a staff writer for RamsTalk. You can find him on Twitter with the username @MCruz1988.