The Rams put their trust in Case Keenum, making him the starting quarterback despite the selection of Jared Goff with the No. 1 pick in the draft.
After playing poorly in a season-opening defeat against the San Francisco 49ers, Keenum said Wednesday that he needed to trust himself and not overthink decisions.
“I think I was seeing ghosts,” Keenum said of his struggles against the 49ers. “I was seeing things that weren’t there. I wasn’t trusting myself and my abilities.”
The Rams need Keenum to quickly right himself.
The Seattle Seahawks, fresh off a come-from-behind victory over the Miami Dolphins, are coming to the Coliseum for the Rams’ home opener. Sunday’s game marks Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll’s return to the stadium where he led USC for nine seasons.
Keenum played efficiently during exhibitions, and he appeared to start off smoothly in the first few plays against the 49ers.
But the Rams’ offense fell apart.
Keenum completed 17 of 35 passes for only 130 yards and had two passes intercepted on a night when the 49ers shut down running back Todd Gurley. Keenum was sacked twice and hit hard multiple times.
“He made some plays and then missed some opportunities,” Coach Jeff Fisher said. “We just have to make sure we take advantage of those opportunities when they’re there.”
Several of Keenum’s passes were nowhere near their targets, which can sometimes indicate that receivers did not run the correct route. Keenum put the blame on himself.
“It was me overthinking it: ‘Maybe they were going to this because of this, this and this,’ ” he said. “Just trust what you see and let it fly, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
The Seahawks gave up only 10 points in their opener and feature one of the NFL’s most aggressive defenses.
Last season, Keenum helped lead the Rams to a 23-17 victory over the Seahawks at CenturyLink Stadium. He completed 14 of 23 passes for 103 yards as the Rams beat the Seahawks for the second time in 2015 and the third time in the last four games.
“I just have to let the game come to me,” Keenum said. “Take what the defense gives me, trust my teammates … and get the ball out of my hands to the right place.”
Gurley did not practice Wednesday — “A coaches’ decision,” Fisher said — but is expected to return Thursday.
The Rams need more production from Gurley, who rushed for only 47 yards in 17 carries, and receiver Tavon Austin, who caught four passes for 13 yards.
And Keenum must rebound from his performance.
“Everybody’s always overexcited when you come in to the first game,” receiver Kenny Britt said. “You overthink stuff because you don’t want to miss stuff. … I know things will calm down for him.”
Watching and waiting
Goff was inactive for the opener, and Fisher has said that he would not decide whether to make him the backup until later in the week.
Goff was on the sideline in warmup gear against the 49ers.
“Definitely a different perspective,” he said. “But I tried to help Case as much as could and be the best teammate I could be.”
Goff said he would be ready when called upon.
“You can see the defense from a different angle and see the speed from the sideline,” he said, “but the best way to really know what’s going on out there is to be in it.”
Making a statement
With the Rams playing the opener on “Monday Night Football,” Britt and defensive end Robert Quinn raised their fists during the national anthem.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has sat or kneeled during the national anthem to protest what he says is police brutality and racial oppression in the United States. Britt and Quinn were two of several NFL players who took part in similar protests on opening weekend.
Two years ago, before a game against the Oakland Raiders, Britt was one of five Rams players who did a “hands up, don’t shoot” pose in support of demonstrators in Ferguson, Mo.
“They’ve seen me protest before back in St. Louis,” Britt said. “So everybody knows where I stand. It wasn’t a shocker for people to see me go out there and do that.”
Britt said he chose to take action because of exposure provided by the “Monday Night Football” broadcast.
“Big stage, Monday night, everybody watching us — why not take that stand and speak for people that don’t have a voice?” he said.
Fisher said he had not addressed Britt and Quinn about their actions.
“I support their issue, I support their premise and all that, and they have every right,” Fisher said, “But we also have to respect the anthem. And I thought our team’s been respecting the anthem for a long time.”
Britt did not indicate that he would raise his fist again on Sunday.
“I think everybody heard our voice,” he said. “Right now, our focus is on winning games.”
Carroll spoke to Los Angeles reporters by phone and said he was looking forward to being part of the first NFL game at the Coliseum in 22 years: “I’m proud that we get to be the first ones that start this thing. For no other reason but I just love Southern California and love the fans and love who they are and what they’re all about. I feel fortunate that we have a chance to add to, kind of the kickoff event to this. That doesn’t amount to a whole lot, it’s just kind of a personal feeling about it.”… Defensive tackle Michael Brockers (thigh) did not practice and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (foot) was limited. Cornerback E.J. Gaines (thigh) and receivers Pharoh Cooper (shoulder) and Nelson Spruce (knee) did not practice.