The San Francisco 49ers kick off their 2016 season with a home game against the Los Angeles Rams. The long-time rivals return to their California roots, and it could make the rivalry all the more interesting.
One thing the two teams have in common is questions about their quarterback positions. They are different questions, but questions nonetheless. The 49ers named Blaine Gabbert their starting quarterback, and Colin Kaepernick is the primary backup. Gabbert did not wow in the preseason, but he got more snaps than Kaepernick, and was able to do at least a few things at times. Not exactly an inspiring assessment, but as they say, “it is what it is.”
The Rams are expected to start Case Keenum. I have not seen Jeff Fisher formally announce it, but he did say shortly after their preseason finale that Jared Goff would be the No. 3 quarterback at that point in time. I imagine we’ll get a more formal announcement on the QB position when Fisher meets with the media this week.
The Rams traded a haul of picks to move from No. 15 to No. 1 so they could select Goff in this year’s draft. It’s only one offseason into things, so I won’t overreact too much, but it was not exactly an inspiring first training camp and preseason for Goff. It makes sense to sit him and let him develop as a rookie.
The Rams placed a first round restricted free agent tender on Keenum earlier this year, so they clearly valued him to some degree. Or maybe they actually thought someone would give up a first for him. Who knows. But for now, he is the starter on a team that really just needs average quarterback play. They’ve got a strong defense, and can build around Todd Gurley on offense. If Keenum (and eventually Goff) can just be decent, they could very well fight for a playoff spot. Of course, given that this is a Jeff Fisher-coached team, I fully expect them to figure out a way to screw up having a strong defense and ground game.