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Jared Goff - One Man's View

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The Eagles need a franchise QB. Is Cal's 6'4" Jared Goff the man for the job?

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

I don't claim to be a college scouting expert. The Philadelphia media already has several of the best, from Tommy Lawlor and Jimmy Kempski to Fran Duffy and Greg Cosell. You should read them. (I do.)

But I have covered (and interviewed) several of the top QB prospects for this spring's NFL draft -- Jared Goff, Cody Kessler, Connor Cook and Kevin Hogan -- when they played Oregon. Since the Eagles are obviously in the market for a quarterback, I tried to watch them with a close eye for NFL potential.

So here are my impressions of Goff, based solely on his game against the Ducks this year. John Breitenbach of Pro Football Focus told me that was "probably his worst game," so take it with a grain of salt.

One possible reason for that might have been the weather, which is not a good sign for Goff's pro career. It started raining at game time in Eugene and continued on and off all night.

Goff and coach Sonny Dykes denied after the game that the weather was a factor. But Goff was Cal's starting QB even his true freshman year (2013), and against Oregon that year Dykes benched him mid-game because he had trouble gripping the ball in the rain. He finished that game 3 of 7 for 11 yards and a QBR of 0.7.

Goff is from California and played his high school ball in sunny Novato. If he struggles in Eugene, there are good reasons to think he might have even more trouble with wintry conditions in Buffalo, Green Bay or even Philadelphia.

This also suggests he may have less than ideal hand size. I couldn't find that measurement anywhere, but there is a topic on "The Bears Insider" message board titled "Does Jared Goff Have Tiny Baby Hands?" The answer was:

"His hands are somewhat small for a man of his size. Not a plus."

Goff is 6'4", 215 by the way. [Update: at the combine, his hands measured at 9.0", smally but not tiny.]

Nonetheless, Goff is considered by many to be the top QB prospect for the 2016 draft. He puts up big numbers in the pass-heavy "Bear Raid" system, and broke Aaron Rodgers' Cal passing yards record. Chris Brown (@SmartFootball) told me:

"I like him. He and system he runs will get bashed and he's no super slam dunk, but he is accurate, good athlete, poised in pocket."

That wasn't apparent in the Oregon game. His line for the day was just bad: 18-41 for 329 yards, 2 TDs and an interception. Much of that production (and 18 of the Bears' 28 points) came in garbage time. Coach Dykes said this about the game:

"I didn’t think Jared was as accurate at times as maybe he’s been this season, and I think just as a group, our offense was a little shaky. When you’ve got a chance to make big plays, you’ve got to catch those balls. I’m pretty sure [all of] our receivers dropped some balls tonight. I mean, people will talk about the weather but it didn’t have anything to do with the weather. It was just a matter of going out and making those plays. You just can’t make those drops in those critical situations."

Goff himself sounded a lot like Chip Kelly has this year:

"I think it really just comes down to we didn’t make plays. I wasn’t throwing them where they need to be, we weren’t catching every ball, we weren’t making good blocks, we weren’t running the ball very well. It was all around. Everyone including myself could have been better."

Oregon's secondary lost a lot of talent after 2014 and started the season horribly, but to be fair the Cal game was a turning point for them. True sophomore CB Arrion Springs and redshirt soph Tyree Robinson broke up pass after pass. I asked Goff if the Ducks did anything in their coverage that disrupted Cal's game. His reply was almost cocky for a guy who completed 44% of his passes:

"They didn’t run anything we didn’t expect. I was pretty comfortable out there with everything thing they were running. I had a good pre-snap on everything. Coming out of that, we knew what they were doing — they did it all on film. They played good man outside on our receivers, they manned them up pretty well."

Goff's tight end Stephen Anderson saw it a little differently, though.

"They dropped a lot of people [into deep coverage], and that’s why toward the beginning of the game we ran a lot of underneath routes and moved down the field, and we had those and we were hitting it. But we then had that drive and it sputtered out and the drive stalled. I think we should have recognized it on the sidelines and said ‘OK, they’re dropping a whole bunch so we should just hit those underneath routes and move downfield’ but we just weren’t doing that today."

Cal jumped out to a ten-point lead thanks to an end zone interception, but momentum turned in the second period as Cal's offense stalled. Oregon kept pounding away and finished with a school record 777 yards, scoring 31 straight points before halftime en route to a 44-28 win.

Goff played both with the lead and from behind, showing no particular leadership skill. Coach Dykes said after the game that "We lost composure."

I'll finish with some observations from my notes and live tweets of the game:

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Nice throw on fade by Goff, well-defended WR couldn't pull it in.

[After he missed an open receiver on 3rd down:] Goff's pass looked like a knuckleball.

Jared Goff has NOT been impressive. Lots of low bullets his receivers can't catch. Good coverage by Oregon on many plays, surprisingly.

Give Goff this much -- he is good at finding his open receivers, and knowing when to throw it away.

Balance doesn't look that good as he scrambles -- footwork?

Goff has the most pathetic pump fakes after handoffs though. Why even bother? If someone is fooled by THAT .......

Great catch by WR Kenny Lawler, not a great throw by Goff. Kind of died at the end.

Goff came out aggressive after half, throwing long repeatedly. Hit one nice deep seam, sacked for 16 yd loss, decent end zone pass broken up.

Vic Enwere's not on the Bear's 2-deep at RB but just broke a 22-yard run. 3rd and 1 at the 9, Goff throws to dirt. 4th down. Enwere, TD.

Nice run by Goff for the 2 point conversion. His first run of the night. Only has 15 yards rushing this year -- total -- in 8 games.

80-yard TD by Goff to Bryce Treggs. Not really that great though - should have been intercepted, off safety Reggie Daniels' fingertips.

Like Vernon Adams, Jr., Goff has thrown up a lot of long passes that could or should have been intercepted. Only luck saved him, not aim.

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Note: Those are his actual tiny hands in the wire service photo atop this article. It's not a photoshopped gag or anything like that.