First overall pick Jared Goff made his long-awaited debut yesterday against the Dolphins. It didn’t go so well. Goff finished 17 out of 31 for 134 yards, producing a measly 4.3 yards per attempt. Sure, Miami has a good defense; but what stood out to me the most while watching Goff’s highlights is how much trouble he had throwing the ball down field. ESPN’s Ed Werder noted that Goff’s longest completion traveled only seven yards in the air. Plus, he was only 5-11 on pass attempts more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. In short, I probably could’ve completed some of the “throws” Goff attempted on Sunday.
See what I mean below:
In fairness to Goff, he did make his debut in adverse conditions (e.g. good defense, difficult weather). And though I wasn’t impressed at all by Goff’s performance, it reminded me of what Derek Carr looked like as a rookie. Similar to Goff, Carr rarely seemed to push the ball down field in his debut season, opting instead for short, safe throws that weren’t likely to be intercepted. Carr, of course, has become a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback since then; but I bet it takes a while for Goff to become a good quarterback, if he ever even gets there. As many pundits noted before the draft, he lacked great arm-strength and had no experience in a pro-style offense. These critiques rang true on Sunday, as Goff struggled to complete rudimentary throws and looked very uncomfortable in the pocket.
On top of all of this, Goff is small. Of course, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees are short for the position, too; but they make up for it in other ways–Wilson with his mobility, Brees with his accuracy. Simply put, Goff is certainly not going to defy expectations like either of those two. With the immediate success of Dak Prescott and, to a far lesser extent, Carson Wentz, Los Angeles’ decision to draft Goff is going to haunt them moving forward.