Rams QB Jared Goff needs to make Brandin Cooks his top target

Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff had a very efficient season for the Rams last year. To take his game to the next level, he needs to take full advantage of Brandin Cooks’ talent.

Statistically speaking, Jared Goff was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL last season. His progression from his rookie season to his sophomore campaign was nothing short of amazing. If he’s going to take another step forward in 2018, he will need to make Brandin Cooks his leading receiver.

Last season, Goff put up 3,804 passing yards with a completion percentage of 62.1 percent. Those numbers were good enough to earn him a Pro Bowl appearance and get his team into the playoffs. His play was so improved from his rookie season that he almost looked like a different player. Credit the arrival of Sean McVay for much of Goff’s development.

His statistical progress from year one to year two was so significant that it’s impossible he can make the same numerical leap in year three. That doesn’t mean he can’t improve, though. Specifically, McVay is challenging his quarterback to become an extension of the coaching staff on the field.

That’s a wonderful platitude, but it doesn’t really describe what Goff can do to help his offense improve. Fortunately, the path to Goff’s improvement is relatively easy to spot. The talented signal caller has to make a concerted effort to push the ball down the field to his wide receivers.

Last season, Todd Gurley was the team’s leading receiver with 64 catches. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods were right behind him with 62 and 56 catches respectively, but that’s still not good enough for an offense with Super Bowl aspirations. Goff has to make more big plays with his arm if his team’s going to make noise in the playoffs.

Fortunately, the Rams front office made a significant investment to help Goff solidify this weakness. The signing of Brandin Cooks gives the young signal-caller the best receiver he’s ever had at his disposal. Cooks is coming off three straight 1,000 yard seasons. If he doesn’t make it four in a row with the Rams this season, then something has gone wrong in Los Angeles.

Ostensibly, Cooks will operate as the team’s starting receiver in the slot. Don’t think for a second that means he’s the Rams’ third receiver, as he is more talented than both Woods and Kupp. It’s up to Goff to make sure his pass distribution accurately reflects the talent hierarchy of his receiver group.

In the immortal words of Keyshawn Johnson, that means Goff needs to get Cooks the d#*( ball. He will give the Los Angeles offense a true home run threat every time he touches it. If he doesn’t finish the season as the team’s top receiver, it should be chalked up as a serious missed opportunity by Goff and the Rams’ coaching staff.

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