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NFL Draft

Is Jared Goff Underappreciated?

  • The Draft Network
  • November 25, 2020
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By Brentley Weissman

The 2020 NFL season has been one of the more entertaining seasons in recent memory. Throughout all of the issues and roadblocks the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown its way, the NFL has still delivered a thrilling product for their millions of fans. One of the main reasons this season has been so great is the outstanding quarterback play around the league. We all know that the quarterback is the most important player on the team in terms of winning and losing, but outside of that, the quarterback is also the most important player from an entertainment standpoint. 

We have seen some amazing quarterback play from veterans such as Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, who are both near the top of the MVP race. We have seen young players like Josh Allen and Kyler Murray take that next step from a young talented passer to firmly establishing themselves amongst the league's best. Older quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Drew Brees have shown that they still have some football left in them, while rookies Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow have shown that they have an extremely promising future. I also can’t forget to mention the best quarterback in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes, who is also having a stellar season and is the odds-on favorite to win the MVP award.

Yes, 2020 has been the year of the quarterback, but the question I have been asking myself—especially after watching Monday Night’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—is where is the love for Jared Goff?

Goff has played excellent this season, and for some reason no one is talking about it. On the year, Goff has completed 67.7% of his passes for 2,823 yards (which ranks eighth in the NFL) and has 16 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. The most important stat, however, is that Goff has his Rams at 7-3 and in first place in the race for the NFC West.

Goff has displayed the traits that made him the first overall pick back in 2016, and has the Rams passing attack clicking on all cylinders. Goff has been accurate in the short and intermediate area of the field, getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers, but has also been able to stretch the defenses deep by connecting on vertical shots. From watching Goff this season, it is evident that he is playing really well from above the shoulders and is seeing and processing things a lot quicker than he did in year’s past.

The lack of respect for Goff is nothing new, and to be quite honest, I really don’t understand why. Goff, who is a former No. 1 overall pick, has exceeded expectations and has done everything required of him to justify that selection. Since entering the league in 2016, Goff has thrown for 17,042 passing yards and 101 touchdowns with 50 interceptions, while completing 63.3% of his passes. Goff has been extremely productive from a stats standpoint, and often he is leading offenses that rank near or at the top in scoring and yards produced in the NFL. More importantly, Goff is a winner. He has made the playoffs twice in his career and took his team to the Super Bowl in 2018.

Looks like a strong resume for a former No. 1 overall pick to me, right? My question is why does Goff not only get very little praise, but often he is a punching bag or viewed as being mediocre?

I have many ideas as to why we don’t give Goff his flowers, and the first of course starts with his head coach, Sean McVay. McVay was hired by the Rams back in 2017, and revolutionized the Rams' offense almost immediately. The Rams went from being one of the worst offenses in football in 2016, to leading the league in points in 2017. Additionally, Goff was terrible his rookie season in 2016 playing under then head coach Jeff Fisher. With McVay in 2017, Goff took a monster step forward and made the Pro Bowl.

Because of this rapid growth by Goff in his first year with McVay, and the fact that McVay is perceived to be a young offensive genius, Goff is often labeled as a “System Quarterback” who without McVay would be just average. I have so many issues with this statement that I barely know where to start.

First off, outside of maybe Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers, which quarterbacks in the NFL aren’t “System Quarterbacks”? The scheme a quarterback plays in obviously has a lot to do with the success of the quarterback, but all quarterbacks rely on good schemes that they are comfortable with and that maximize their skill sets. To say Goff is only good because of McVay’s scheme is just being lazy as an evaluator.

Secondly, we act as if Goff is a late-round quarterback who McVay inherited and has molded into a quality player. Do people forget that Goff went No. 1 overall in the draft? Goff was a blue-chip prospect with outstanding arm talent and ability as a passer. Goff is just as important to the Rams' offense as McVay’s scheme, if not more.

Another reason I believe Goff doesn’t get the love he deserves is because of his style of play. In a world where more and more quarterbacks are able to affect the game with both their arms and legs, the Jared Goffs of the world are slowly becoming extinct. Goff offers little in the way of mobility and making plays with his legs. Where Goff wins is his ability as a thrower of the football, and when Goff is on, very few can do the things he can do with his arm. Goff has very good arm strength and accuracy, but what sets Goff apart from others is his outstanding touch on intermediate and the deep parts of the field. This is a trait that is often overlooked, but NFL evaluators know how important it is. Goff has stretches where he absolutely shreds defenses through the air, and while it may not be as flashy as Mahomes, or Murray, it's just as effective. 

All in all, I’m sure Goff doesn’t mind that he isn’t talked about as being one of the better quarterbacks in the league. I bet he is perfectly OK being overlooked and counted out as long as he and the Rams keep winning. As a fan of football and as someone who loves quarterback play, I just hope we realize and appreciate Goff for how good he is, rather than paint him as an average player with a good coach and a good team. 

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