When something doesn’t make sense, it usually just means we don’t have the whole story. Medically, it didn’t make sense to me that Jared Goff coming off thumb surgery wasn’t the starter for the Rams wild-card playoff game. With the pending trade for Matthew Stafford, we now have clarity.
By analysis of the thumb injury, I was very confident all week leading into the playoff contest versus the Seahawks that Goff would be ready to start.
When he didn’t, people came out of the woodwork to call out my “bad take.” I did not delete my tweets or change my thoughts and stuck to my guns while taking my lumps. I even doubled down the following day discussing the Goff situation in episode 63 of the ProFootballDoc Podcast on Outkick entitled “Hiding ‘Behind’ Injuries.” With Goff and his salary now headed to the Lions, it seems my medical analysis was accurate, and foreshadowed the loss of confidence in Goff.
The Rams were coy all Wild Card week as to who would start but I was firm that medically, Goff would be ready to go. When John Wolford was announced as the starter right before kickoff, it just didn’t make sense to me. If Goff’s thumb was that big of a question mark, why was he the only other QB dressed, as Blake Bortles was inactive? No team purposefully goes into a game with one and a half signalcallers as the position is just too important. Besides, Goff played an entire quarter without a splint or tape when the thumb was injured in Week 16 after self-reducing the fracture/dislocation. Twelve days after three pins, the thumb would only be more stable making Goff fit to play. After Wolford was injured in the first quarter, Goff indeed played the rest of the game (almost three and a half quarters) and led the Rams to victory.
The “non benching” to begin the playoff game, turned out to be just that. Rams head coach Sean McVay used the thumb injury to hide the team’s true intentions.
In the end, this trade makes a lot of sense. Lions’ new general manager Brad Holmes was the director of college scouting for the Rams when they traded up from #15 to select Goff at #1 overall in 2016. The affinity for Goff, taking on his salary in exchange for the haul of picks (two firsts and a third) and moving on from a disgruntled Stafford were three reasons that made this trade add up.
Sometimes the truth is hidden. Sometimes when one seems wrong, there is more to it. In the end, things usually make sense. We now see clearly the Rams obscured their true feelings about Goff behind the thumb injury.