Case Keenum to remain Rams’ starting quarterback — at least at Tampa Bay
Rams quarterback Case Keenum ranks near the bottom of NFL statistics in several categories.
But the Rams are 1-1 and tied for first place in the NFC West after Keenum helped lead them to a victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
So pump the brakes, for now, on Jared Goff.
Keenum is expected to be under center when the Rams play Sunday at Tampa Bay.
“We need more production out of our offense, and all things point to the quarterback position,” Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday during a news conference at Cal Lutheran. “But I’m expecting Case to continue to get better in this offense and we’re going to win games and score points.”
Keenum struggled in the Rams’ 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the season opener. The Rams failed to even reach the 49ers’ 20-yard line and Keenum had two passes intercepted.
He played turnover-free against the Seahawks, but the Rams emerged from the 9-3 victory as the only NFL team that has not scored a touchdown.
“If you’re going to be successful in this league — there are a lot of really good offenses — you have to score points,” Keenum said after Sunday’s game.
Said Fisher, after reviewing the victory over the Seahawks: “Our opener was a team loss and I don’t blame it on Case. Nor do I give credit to Case for this win … although he contributed and made a lot of plays, pushed the ball down the field and made plays when he needed to.”
Keenum has completed 53% of his passes, which ranks 35th out of 38 quarterbacks, and last among those who have started two games, according to NFL.com. He averages 184.5 yards passing per game (34th) and has a 57.8 passer rating (35th).
Goff, the No. 1 pick in the draft, was in uniform as the backup against the Seahawks after spending the opener inactive on the sideline.
After the draft, Fisher described Goff as “our franchise quarterback,” and the Rams signed him to a four-year contract worth a reported $27.9 million, including an $18.5-million signing bonus.
Goff struggled during exhibitions, but it is only a matter of time until the Rams decide to play him.
“If you’re talking about Jared, I don’t want to be a broken record here but we’re going to play him when he’s ready,” Fisher said. “I thought it was a great experience for him [Sunday]. He loved it.
“I talked to him this morning and said, ‘This is going to be your home for a long time.’ And he’s excited about that.
“When that happens we’ll let you know.”
Asked whether a decision to start Goff would be made based on how he performs during practice or how Keenum performs in games, Fisher said it would be based “on a lot of different things.”
“When he’s under center, you’ll know, OK?” Fisher said. “So keep asking that every week if you want. You can ask it again, if you want.”
Cornering the market
Cornerback E.J. Gaines, who has not played this season because of what the Rams describe as a thigh issue, is “really close” to returning, Fisher said.
Gaines started 15 games as a rookie in 2014. He sat out last season after suffering a foot injury during training camp.
Coty Sensabaugh has struggled as a starter opposite franchise cornerback Trumaine Johnson. Troy Hill played in relief of Sensabaugh against the Seahawks, and could possibly start against Tampa Bay.
Gaines, however, would fill a glaring void in the defense.
“He’s been there, he’s done it, he’s played there, he’s excelled there,” Fisher said. “We’ve missed E.J. there.
“Once he’s healthy, I would suggest that he’s probably got a pretty good chance of taking that job over, but he’ll be questionable for this week.”
Rookie Josh Forrest started at strong-side linebacker against the Seahawks but did not record a tackle. Fisher said when defensive coordinator Gregg Williams called for a base defense, “I looked and [Forrest’s] eyes got really big,” Fisher said. “He did a nice a job and he’s learned from that. He knows that when we go there, we’re going to lean on him for that.”... Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree was credited with forcing and recovering a fumble that clinched the victory, but Fisher indicated linebacker Mark Barron also deserved credit. “I’ve looked at it numerous times and both Mark and Alec arrived at the same time in a bad mood.” he said. “That why the ball came out.”
Go beyond the scoreboard
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