As quarterbacks fall, Jared Goff keeps healthful approach as Rams prepare for Browns
Nick Foles suffered a shoulder injury in a season opener and required surgery. Sam Darnold came down with mononucleosis before Week 2, Cam Newton is hobbled because of a foot issue and Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Trevor Siemian suffered wrist, elbow and ankle injuries, respectively, that will require surgeries.
Jared Goff has avoided a similar fate that befell his fellow NFL quarterbacks.
“I feel for them,” Goff said after practice Wednesday as the Rams began preparations for the Sunday night game against the Cleveland Browns. “I don’t want to think about it too often because you always hope for the best, but you never know.”
In college, Goff suffered a shoulder injury in the final game of his freshman season at California and underwent surgery. But he has proved durable since the Rams selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
In two-plus seasons as the starter, Goff has missed snaps only once because of an injury. During his rookie season, cornerback Richard Sherman leveled Goff as he scrambled toward the left sideline in the fourth quarter of a loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
Goff returned to the lineup the next game.
“It’s a lot of different factors,” he said when asked about his durability. “I think it’s a lot of luck and a lot of hard work as well as just kind of being in the right spot and understanding how to move in different situations.
“Then, there is freak stuff that happens all the time. I did my shoulder in college. Crazy stuff happens, it’s a physical game and you always hope for the best.”
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Rams offensive linemen had a simple explanation for the recent rash of injuries that have sidelined other quarterbacks.
“It’s football,” center Brian Allen said. “Stuff happens. ... I don’t think anything in particular is leading to them.”
So the injuries will not change the linemen’s focus on protecting their quarterback.
“It’s your job to keep the guy healthy,” right tackle Rob Havenstein said.
The Rams gave up one sack in their 30-27 season-opening victory over the Carolina Panthers, and three in their 27-9 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
The line gets another challenge Sunday against a Browns defense that features end Myles Garrett, the NFL leader in sacks.
Garrett, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, had two sacks in the Browns’ season-opening loss to the Tennessee Titans and three Monday night in the Browns’ 23-3 victory over the New York Jets. One of Garrett’s hits left Jets quarterback Siemian with a season-ending ankle injury.
Garrett has five penalties, two for roughing the passer and one for unnecessary roughness.
“You see the production that he’s had and the length, the strength — he can beat you in a variety of ways and he’s productive, really on all three downs,” Rams coach Sean McVay said.
The Rams rank seventh in the NFL in scoring, averaging 28.5 points a game, but they have not scored a first-half touchdown. Goff did not sound concerned.
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“We’d like to get off to a better start for sure,” he said. “We always want to start fast, but our adjustments have been great and we finish games with 27 and 30 and both [wins].
“Ultimately, that’s the most important thing.”
Goff has completed 42 of 67 passes for 469 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. That is not much different than his start in 2018, when in two games he completed 42 of 65 passes for 584 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
In 2017, Goff’s first running of McVay’s system, he was 35 of 53 for 525 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. Defenses annually add “wrinkles” to counter the Rams’ success of the previous season, Goff said.
“Every year there is a flavor of the year that tends to come out,” he said. “I can’t say what that is now because it’s too early. I’m sure we will see something this week we aren’t expecting, that tends to happen a few times every week.”
Tight end Tyler Higbee (bruised lung) and right guard Austin Blythe (ankle) did not practice and defensive tackle Aaron Donald (back) and running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) were limited. ... Browns tight end David Njoku did not practice because of a wrist injury and also is in the concussion protocol, according to the team’s injury report.
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