Rams likely to let Jared Goff throw deep more often against high-powered Saints

Rams quarterback Jared Goff has a completion rate of 53.5% this season, with five touchdown passes and seven interceptions.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Jared Goff took the snap, dropped back and lofted a pass about 25 yards down the left sideline.

It fell incomplete.

Save for a Hail Mary at the end of the game, the second-quarter pass toward receiver Kenny Britt qualified as Goff’s only opportunity to throw downfield in his first start for the Rams.

That situation is expected to change Sunday when the Rams play the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.

For one thing, it won’t be raining indoors as it was intermittently during Goff’s debut Sunday at the Coliseum. More importantly, Rams coaches who stayed ultraconservative with the No. 1 pick in the draft are expected to open up the playbook.

They don’t have much choice.

The Saints, with quarterback Drew Brees, lead the NFL in total offense and passing offense and rank third in scoring at 28.5 points a game.


The Rams are last at 14.9.

Goff completed 17 of 31 passes for 134 yards in a 14-10 loss to the Dolphins. Nearly all were shorter throws.

Afterward, he said that he would like to make more downfield passes. He reiterated that point Wednesday and said he anticipated increased opportunities.

“I sure hope so,” he said after practice. “We’ve got some good stuff in this week, got a really good plan going. Guys look really good, look fast.

“And I think we’ve got a good chance to push the ball a little bit.”

Coach Jeff Fisher intimated the same while praising Goff’s practice performance.

“He was cutting it loose,” Fisher said. “He’s got a really good feel for it…. He’s putting it down the field and doing some good things.

“He’s in complete control of what we’re doing, so it’s good to see, it’s very encouraging.”

Said Goff: “Just letting it fly a little bit.”

Goff scrambled several times against the Dolphins, gained yardage on a designed run and was sacked only once. But he was taken to the turf several times after passes.

The difference between college football and the NFL?

“It hurts a little more for sure,” he said, chuckling. “They’re a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger but it was good.”

Goff anticipates improvement in his second start, and the offense could use it.

The Rams rank 31st in total offense, 28th in passing and 29th in rushing.

Fisher said Monday that he was not considering a change in play-callers and that he and the offense had confidence in offensive coordinator Rob Boras.

Asked how much pressure he feels to get the offense going, Boras on Wednesday did not deflect — “I’m the man responsible for it,” he said — and acknowledged frustration.

“It’s your job,” he said. “It’s like that anytime it’s your job, no matter what you do in life.

“If things aren’t going well, whether you’re in sales and you’re not making sales or you’re coaching and you’re not scoring touchdowns, it’s frustrating.”

Boras was optimistic that the offense would improve and expressed confidence in Goff’s ability to throw longer passes.

The Saints rank 30th in pass defense, giving up 280.7 yards a game.

“We know what his arm talent is,” Boras said of Goff, “and we understand that we have to be able to push the ball down the field to make some plays.”

Who might be blocking for Goff is in flux.

Fisher said Monday that he was considering personnel changes along the offensive line. But on Wednesday he offered no specifics.

“It’s competitive, so I’m not going to go there,” he said. “There may be a change or two.”

Left tackle Greg Robinson has struggled with penalties and other mistakes, but Fisher said the No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft has the talent to play the demanding position.

He also noted Robinson’s determination and athleticism, saying that Robinson “can be a really good player for us. He just needs reps and needs time.”

Robinson left the locker room after declining to speak to reporters.

Quick hits

Cornerback Troy Hill, released Tuesday, cleared waivers and was re-signed to the practice squad. Hill, 25, was released three days after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. “It’s a humbling experience and I’m thankful for these coaches,” Hill said. “I let them down and they gave me this second opportunity. So it’s a humbling experience and I just want to do everything I can to show them that I can be trusted and work my way back.” The Rams also re-signed cornerback Steve Williams, who they had signed and released earlier this season…. Defensive end William Hayes was absent from practice because of personal reasons, Fisher said.

Twitter: @LATimesklein