Will the Rams have the NFL’s worst offense?

July 29, 2017

The 2017 NFL season is approaching, and according to ESPN analytics, the Los Angeles Rams are in for a long year with a bad offense.

The Rams are headed into the season with a first-time head coach, Sean McVay, and a second-year quarterback in Jared Goff. In fact, Goff isn’t that far from being a first-year QB with how little reps he got last season thanks to L.A.’s ex-coach Jeff Fisher.

Inexperience doesn’t always mean a lack of talent, skill or the ability to wins games; just look at what Dak Prescott did last year for the Dallas Cowboys. But ESPN’s analytics thinks it does for the Rams. The FPI currently has L.A. with Goff under center as the 64th offense in the league—or last.

How does the FPI calculate the NFL’s offenses—like this: There are two offensive predictions for each team. One assumes the starting QB and one the backup QB. Data is collected from the team’s offensive performance the previous year, the quarterback’s total QBR history and the team’s Vegas win total.

Once all that information is compiled a power ranking is produced. There are 32 NFL teams and 64 offenses ranked based on an offense for both the starting QB and the backup QB of every team. With all the data added up an offense under Goff comes up dead last—even after his backup, Sean Mannion.

But the question is if that data will hold true for the Rams this season. Goff did not become a starter last year until Week 10 so his sample size is small. As a starter Goff was 0-7 and completed only 54.6 percent of his passes. He was also under loads of pressure and was sacked a league-high 26 times in the seven weeks he started. Goff was ultimately thrust into a bad situation with a bad offensive scheme.

One task for Head Coach Sean McVay will be to get Goff to play to his maximum potential. Although this is McVay’s first time as a head coach, he’s expected to get the best out of Goff after he helped develop Kirk Cousins while with the Washington Redskins. If McVay can work Goff into a true franchise quarterback then it won’t matter what the analytics say.

Truth be told, sometimes analytics are wrong. There are plenty of teams that are good on paper that just don’t have the chemistry or a good enough system to be successful. Then there are those sleepers, off the radar players and low draft picks that defy the odds.

So will the Rams end up with one of the worst if not the worst offense in the NFL, we’ll have to wait and see. But the FPI is not set in stone and it can change once football actually gets played.

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