Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher decided to make No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff the third-string quarterback to begin the season, but former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson believes Fisher never wanted Goff to begin with.
In an interview on The Stephen A. Smith Show (h/t John Breech of CBSSports.com), Johnson said sources told him that Fisher was against selecting Goff: "From my outside people and the inside people that I know with the Rams, that wasn't the choice that Jeff Fisher really wanted. I think he was basically forced to draft Jared Goff."
If Johnson's sources are correct, then Fisher's disagreement with management may have had something to do with his decision to go with both Case Keenum and Sean Mannion over Goff to start the 2016 campaign.
Johnson also had the following to say regarding who he believes Fisher wanted in the draft rather than Goff: "I think he wanted more players. I think he wanted more players because he felt that he could be more competitive with more players, but they felt they needed to make a splash moving into Los Angeles and drafting a quarterback."
The Rams had seven picks in the 2016 NFL draft, but only one of them came in the first three rounds. L.A. dealt a 2016 first-round pick, two 2016 second-round selections, a 2016 third-round pick and first- and third-round selections in 2017 to move up from No. 15 to No. 1 in order to draft Goff.
While moving up helped the Rams secure the player they believe to be the quarterback of the future, it prevented them from bolstering their depth at other positions.
According to NFL Network's Michael Silver, however, Fisher told him directly that Goff was his top draft target since February.
Fisher philosophically believes it's better for young QBs not to be thrown into the fire. It worked out well in [former Tennessee Titans quarterback] Steve McNair's case. ... Goff came from a system that was not pro-style (as did [Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton] Lynch). It makes sense not to throw him in. Fisher believes this is best for the kid. ... That's it. Rams (and Fisher) still love Goff. Right now, obviously, they're struggling. That needs to change ASAP. And it may.
Silver also tweeted that Fisher is simply looking out for Goff potentially at his own expense.
The San Francisco 49ers dominated Los Angeles in a 28-0 rout in Week 1, and while Keenum's poor play was a big part of it, the lack of additions elsewhere in the draft may have played a role as well.
Goff didn't earn the starting job during the preseason, as he completed just 22 of 49 passes for 232 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but it is clear that Keenum isn't the answer under center.
Another season without making the playoffs could lead to Fisher's firing, so he has plenty of incentive to play the guys he believes can help the team win now. However, if the Rams' struggles continue, then pressure will mount to start Goff, and Fisher may not be able to ignore it.
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