We already knew No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff wouldn't start for the Rams when they open up the season in just over a week. That job belongs to Case Keenum. It turns out, though, that Goff might not even serve as Keenum's backup. That job belongs to Sean Mannion, at least as of now.
After the Rams wrapped up the preseason Thursday night, Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters that if the season started today, Goff would be third on the quarterback depth chart. Here's a transcription of Fisher's Q&A, via the Orange County Register's Rich Hammond:
On Goff's development in preseason: "He's much better now than he was when we started. He has made significant progress. He's comfortable. He understands things. He has progressed."
On what Goff might need to do better: "We know what goes on in the practice field and in the meeting rooms, his understanding and his grasp of everything. He's confident with it right now. He's not ready, but he's really, really made significant progress."
On whether he would be confident with Goff as his backup now: "You know, I think it's going to take a little bit more time. That's not to say he can't be a two or start, but if were starting right now, I'd probably have Sean (Mannion) as the two. Because it's all about being patient with him. He's not frustrated or anything. He took some hits. He got hit pretty hard last week, and Sunday was a tough day for him, which you guys didn't see. But he did everything he needed to."
(Quick side note: Fisher sometimes says stuff about his quarterbacks that ends up being totally not true.)
When the Rams traded up to snag Goff, they likely knew that there'd be an ugly adjustment period for their new quarterback. Goff, who played college ball at Cal, is adjusting to an NFL system after operating in an offense called the "Bear Raid" for three years.
They might not have expected the transition to be this ugly, though.
Goff's final preseason numbers? A 44.9 completion percentage, 4.7 yards per attempt, two touchdowns, two interceptions, three fumbles, and four sacks. That's good enough for a 55.8 passer rating.
So, it pretty much went like this:
Jared Goff made the "I don't really want to go back in, so put Mannion in" face. Mannion was in on the next drive. pic.twitter.com/1TfhuRh3Er— John Breech (@johnbreech) August 28, 2016
On Thursday, in his first start, he went 6 of 16 for 67 yards, a touchdown, and a pick. Those are the kind of numbers that will allow Mannion to surge above you on the depth chart, even if you're the top pick in the draft.
To be fair to Goff, it's way, way too early to call him a bust. He still has time to improve. But there's no way to hide the fact that he failed to beat out two quarterbacks named Case Keenum and Sean Mannion.
In the words of Fisher, that's some "7-9 bull---t."