Los Angeles

LA Rams QB Jared Goff Says, ‘The Anxiety is Over,' After Being Named the Starter

Loa Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff talks for the first time about being named the starting quarterback.

The wait is over.

After cries and chants of "We Want Goff!" rang through the hallow halls of the Coliseum, the Los Angeles Rams have finally named quarterback Jared Goff the starter.

Less than 24 hours after head coach Jeff Fisher said that Goff was his No. 2 quarterback, news broke this morning thanks to ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Goff would start the game this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

"I sat down with both Case and Jared this morning and informed them of the move," Fisher said after practice on Tuesday. "Jared Goff is the starter. He's going to be under center this week against a really good defense in the Dolphins."

The switch at the quarterback position ignites a new era in Rams football, and the end of the Case Keenum saga as the former starting quarterback, reverts to his original position as a backup. 

"Case is a pro. He doesn't like it, but understands and appreciates his opportunity," Fisher said of how Keenum took the news. "He's going to do anything he can to make Jared successful. He's a class act. Case was voted a captain and is still a captain. His leadership, enthusiasm and commitment has been tremendous. You can't ask for anything more. But it's time to move on." 

Keenum guided the Rams to a 9-6 victory on Sunday against the New York Jets, but was unable to get his team into the end zone despite a handful of trips into the redzone. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Rams, but over his past five games, Keenum threw eight interceptions and just five touchdowns.

On the season,  Keenum has passed for just 2,169 yards with 11 interceptions and nine touchdowns. The team's scoring offense is dead last in the NFL and their passing game is ranked 25th in the league with 225.4 yards per game. Needless to say, a change was needed.

"The anxiety is over," a happy and cheerful Goff said after practice. "I'm good now. I'm confident and ready to go. Hopefully this will be the start of a long career."

The local fans had to wait 22 years for the team to return Los Angeles and 11 weeks to say the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft take the field. Fans and the media alike have been asking when is the time ripe for Goff, a question that Fisher has consistently said will be, "when he's ready."

"He was always a play away from going in. As he's gotten the reps over the past 3-4 weeks, he was making the right decisions, so it was time," Fisher said. "His progression in practice is what swayed me."

Last week, NBC LA asked Fisher if Keenum's performance or the team's win-loss record would have any influence on when or if Goff would get in the game, a decision Fisher said would have no influence whatsoever on Goff starting.

True to his word, Goff got the job despite the Rams victory in week 10 and regardless of who their defensive opponent is this Sunday. Additionally, Fisher's decision is not simply a week-to-week thing, Goff is the guy for the foreseeable future.

"In my heart, I felt like this was the best time to turn the keys over to Jared. He's really excited," Fisher said. "It was my decision. I did inform Stan [Kroenke] for obvious reasons. I told him this is the direction I wanted to go. It's an exciting time right now. We're expecting him to play well and win games for us." 

According to Goff, his teammates reacted positively to the news, and he received plenty of congratulation texts from friends and family.

One of those teammates, starting left guard Rodger Saffold, saw this decision coming for weeks, as Goff continued to progress in practice. 

"I kept seeing better throws and less mistakes in practice," said Saffold. "He's been working. He's been watching on how to be a leader and adjust to certain looks. The coaches feel comfortable putting him in now, so it's our job to make him confortable on the field."

Everything won't be all roses for Goff when he takes the field in Los Angeles on Sunday. He will line up against one of the best defensive players in the league in Ndamukong Suh, a player who will surely try and greet Goff to the NFL in the most vicious way possible.

"The biggest thing for him is to stay calm and take things one play at a time. On our end, we need to make things easier for him," added Saffold. "Give him better looks and stop the things the defense is going to try and do to get him out of his comfort zone."

Both Goff and Fisher know there will be growing pains over the next six weeks as well as mental mistakes that come naturally with a rookie. One thing fans will be watching for is if the offense improves with Goff under center. If Rams fans are expectation 300+ yard, four touchdown performances, they could be in for a rude awakening as the team still plans to hand the ball off to Todd Gurley. 

Goff is alright with that, and just wants to help the team make the postseason for the first time in 12 years.

"I expect to do whatever it takes to win," finished Goff. "If that's a lot of touchdowns and a lot of yards, or not that much, I'm going to do whatever it takes to win."

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