Jared Goff will almost certainly be the Rams starting quarterback at some point in 2016, but his first start might not come in the regular season opener, because as of right now, he's not the top guy on the depth chart.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher made it clear on Thursday that Goff's going to have to win the starting job, which currently belongs to Case Keenum.
"Case is our starter right now," Fisher said, when asked if Goff would be getting all the first-team reps when the Rams open training camp next month.
"Case needs the first-team reps," Fisher said. "To give Jared the opportunity -- and (QB) Sean (Mannion) for that matter -- to run with the first-team, it's easier to evaluate them. We'll change things up. Once we get in there and we'll make some decisions as to who plays when and how much in the preseason."
Once training camp starts, Goff will have about five weeks to wrestle the starting job away from Keenum if he wants to be the starter for the opener. As for Fisher, he didn't make any promises when he was asked if he thought Goff would be the team's Week 1 starter.
"We'll start him when he's ready," Fisher said of Goff. "I didn't say that to imply that he was going to start the opener. I said, we have options. He can start anywhere from the opener to whenever, and we haven't changed our philosophy on that. We're going to coach him to be successful and we're not going to put him in with a chance to fail -- that's the most important thing in developing a young quarterback."
Although Goff didn't do enough during OTAs to be named the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, Fisher did say that he's seen some big improvement from Goff and that the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft just needs to continue "learning the system."
"He's got all the physical tools, makes all the throws and does all that, it's just learning the system and then applying it to what we would call a fairly sophisticated defensive system," Fisher said. "That's hard. You know, if you just line up and play two coverages then things come along quicker, but that's not our nature. We may adjust a little bit during camp, but I thought that was the biggest thing as far as he was concerned. He started figuring some of the stuff out that we were doing defensively and that's hard to do."
Basically, Keenum is just keeping the starting QB seat warm for Goff because the job is going to be his at some point. The Rams didn't trade up to the top spot in the NFL Draft so they could pick someone who would sit on the bench. They traded up to grab their quarterback of the future, and that future will start in Week 1 if Goff plays well in training camp.