Case Keenum was nearing the end of answering questions from reporters Wednesday when he was tossed a political football.
Asked for his thoughts on the previous day’s presidential election, Keenum paused a few beats.
“All I’m going to say,” he began, “is our goal is to, you know, make this offense great again.”
Keenum laughed easily, showing no signs of defensiveness in the aftermath of Sunday’s 13-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Rams fans at the Coliseum repeatedly booed Keenum and the offense during the first half and after a third-quarter interception, Keenum’s 11th of the season. They also chanted “We want Goff!” demanding that Coach Jeff Fisher replace Keenum with Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
Keenum will start again Sunday when the Rams play the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The Rams are 3-5 and have lost four games in a row. The call to play Goff will increase if the offense continues to stagnate.
Fisher said he has instructed players not to press.
“No one’s in a panic stage right now,” he said.
It might move in that direction if the Rams’ do not overcome their inability to run the ball and score touchdowns.
The Rams have scored only one touchdown and 10 points in each of their last two games.
Offensive coordinator Rob Boras, who calls plays from a coaches booth in the press box, was aware of the boos.
“Fortunately,” he joked, “I’ve got a headset on so I don’t hear it.”
Boras said he was not making light of the situation.
“It’s our job to score points,” he said. “It’s frustrating for all of us.”
Especially, it seems, Todd Gurley.
The running back has yet to break out this season after rushing for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie.
Gurley had only 12 carries against the Panthers. He did not practice Wednesday because of what was listed as a thigh issue on the injury report, but he is expected to start Sunday.
“I’m not saying that he’s not frustrated, but he’s not showing it,” Boras said. “He’s a team guy. He’s willing to do — protection-wise, route running — whatever it’s going to take for us to get first downs and ultimately score touchdowns.”
Gurley’s longest run from scrimmage this season — 18 yards — came off a direct snap against the Panthers. It was among the attempts, Boras said, “to take advantage of our talent and maybe give the defense some un-scouted looks.”
But Gurley ran the ball on consecutive plays only one time — on the Rams’ second and third plays of the game.
Boras acknowledged that “for any runner, and especially a guy like Todd… the more carries they’re going to get, the more they’re going to settle in,” and that the same was true for offensive linemen, tight ends and fullbacks leading the way.
An effective running game would take pressure off Keenum, who attempted 53 and 46 passes in the last two games.
Keenum was sacked four times and had several passed batted away or tipped in the loss to the Panthers.
“My pocket presence was not where it needed to be,” he said. “I think I could’ve prevented a few sacks, a few batted balls — just trusting my protection and stepping up when I need to.
“Sometimes I make it tough on my tackles.”
Boras said Keenum and offensive players cannot stress, which results in dropped passes, missed blocks and other miscues. They also cannot dwell on the previous play.
“We’ve got to trust the design and the scheme, and go out there and go,” Boras said. “Case is as guilty of that as anybody else that’s in the huddle at that time.
“They’ve got to do their job on that play.”
Defensive tackle Michael Brockers (groin), receiver Nelson Spruce (calf) and cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson (ankle) and Lamarcus Joyner (back) did not practice…. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (knee) was listed as limited on the injury report. Jets Coach Todd Bowles said Fitzpatrick would start if healthy Sunday. Bryce Petty could start in his place, but Fisher and Rams players said they were preparing for Fitzpatrick. The Jets placed starting left tackle Ryan Clady on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury. Ben Ijalana is expected to start in his place…. Fisher when asked his reaction to the presidential election: “Since I’ve become a head coach, I’ve separated my personal political beliefs from my professional position, so I’ll continue to do so.”