THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Finally, the Jared Goff era is upon us.
The Rams made the inevitable official this week, vaulting the top overall pick over Case Keenum as their starting quarterback. The rookie from Cal will make his regular-season debut Sunday against the Miami Dolphins at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Goff was informed of the team's decision by coach Jeff Fisher early Tuesday morning in a meeting that also included Keenum, who started the first nine games of the season but guided the Rams to a 4-5 record and only two touchdowns over the last three games.
It was a decision the Rams have been contemplating for a few weeks, the result of Keenum and the offense struggling and Goff showing steady improvement in the class room and on the practice field.
"I felt in my heart -- I was getting closer and closer over the last couple of weeks. I felt like this was the best time to go ahead and turn the keys over to Jared," Fisher said. "We're excited for him. He had a good day today. He's into the plan, he's really excited. The position is not easy to play, as we've seen around the league. A lot of good quarterbacks took their lumps last weekend, but we got confidence in him, as the offense does. We'll get him prepared to play. The option was to wait until Sunday, but that's not a good option. It's not fair to you guys, it's not fair to him. It's out there, he's our starter, we're moving forward."
For Goff, it was a message he's been waiting to get almost since the moment he was drafted first overall last April.
"I've been working hard to get to that point. I'm glad it's finally come, glad they've given me that vote of confidence and the nod," he said. "I'm ready to go and I'm proving them right."
And after getting over the initial shock, he's ready to go.
"Anxiety is over, I'm good now," he said. "I'm confident and ready to go. Ready to play, ready to get back to playing football, back to doing what I love -- my job -- and hopefully start what will be a long career."
The move comes with the Rams still in the hunt for the playoffs but in desperate need of an offensive spark. The defense has played lights out all season, and simply needs the offense to play average football to be in better position to make a run.
The hope is Goff creates that spark. And it looks like the Rams will not hold him back in terms of the playbook.
According to Fisher, it's full bore ahead.
"We don't have to reduce anything and we talked as a staff last night about that," Fisher said. "There are some things that we will expand because of the arm talent, you know, the stuff down the field. We have to block better up front and that includes in the run game and protection.
"We have to make plays down the field, we have to get the ball in the end zone when we have opportunities to help him, and defense has to play better. Again, it's an exciting time for us. I'm excited to watch him play, I'm excited to watch him go through and finish up his first week of preparation as our starter."
--The Rams intend to play quarterback Jared Goff as the starter for the rest of the year.
"We didn't do what we did this off season and trade for Jared, to come in and just spot-play him over the next five or six weeks," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "By no means -- even though there's people out there saying 'well you're doing it now because your playoff chances aren't real good' -- well no, our playoff chances are still fine. We're doing this for two reasons, one, I feel like this is the best decision. And two, he has a chance to help us win football games. Offensively, our numbers are where they are. We're hoping that he's going to help us improve. I will caution everybody to evaluate him on this game. It's unfair to evaluate a quarterback just on one games performance. But I will guarantee you this, he's going to prepare and be ready to play."
Goff is ready to go.
"I expect to do whatever it takes to win, hopefully you go out there and try to win every Sunday," he said. "Whatever it takes, if that's a lot of touchdowns, a lot of yards, if that's handing the ball off a lot -- whatever it is, I want to win. I want to be the quarterback for this team for a long time."