Andrew Whitworth, Cameron Jordan, Jared Goff, LA Rams, New Orleans Saints, PG Williams, Rob Havenstein, Sammy Watkins, Sean McVay, Tevon Austin, Todd Gurley
So this week I got a chance to take a look at the LA Rams offence and the turnaround of Jared Goff as they took on the New Orleans Saints..
So the first think I took away was that Jared Goff looks like a professional quarterback, which given how bad things were last season is not something to be sniffed at. There was interesting footage that came out in the week of the Rams lining up early in the play clock so that Sean McVay could call any audibles before the QB headset could cut out at 15 seconds left on the play clock. I’m sure that in future defences will start switching looks later in the play clock so this will be something to monitor.
However, in this game, it wasn’t so much the play of Goff that stood out as the construction of the offence. The Rams remained committed to the run, even if they did only manage eighty-eight yards from twenty-five carries. However, this was not a slavish insistence on running on first down out of an I formation, in fact most of the time the Rams were in 11 personnel, but was the commitment to the run to establish the basis of their numerous run fakes. They not only used traditional play action, but would motion Tavon Austin across the formation or line him up as the running back with 01 personnel on the ball. Even if these plays did not always succeed, the defence has to account for them and more than once after two run fakes held a safety long enough for a receiver to get behind the play.
Sean McVay also schemed a couple of quick backwards passes to receivers who once tossed the ball for Tevon Austin to run on and on another play, Cooper Kupp threw a horrible forward pass. Still if misdirection ruled the day, they did keep feeding the ball to Todd Gurley in space so that apart from his seventy-four yards on the ground, Gurley picked up fifty-four yards through the air.
The Rams did not have things all their own way. If Goff was unlucky when a ball he threw behind Sammy Watkins bounced off his trailing hand and straight into the arms of a trailing PJ Williams, Goff had no chance of escaping Cameron Jordan when he faked inside right tackle Rob Havenstein and the burst straight past him on the outside to get a quick sack. For Cameron’s first sack I would suggest that Goff shared some of the blame due to holding on the ball whilst Cameron drove Andrew Whitworth up field and then powered inside him to get the sack. There is only so long even the best of tackles can hold up one on one in pass protection.
Still, for the most part the Rams moved the ball well and even whey they didn’t they still didn’t turn the ball over. I am impressed with the turnaround Sean McVay has already produced in LA and will be fascinated to follow the development of Goff as surely after this season’s success McVay and Goff will have a number of years to develop this offence.