Bleacher Report NFL writer Matt Miller dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Monday to discuss the play of numerous quarterbacks from around the league, including Jared Goff, who made his NFL debut Sunday.
Goff went 17-of-31 for 134 yards in a 14-10 loss to the Dolphins.
“It was uneven,” Miller told Damon Amendolara, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I thought there were some good moments, but largely if you’re making your debut in a driving rain in L.A. – which I didn’t know happened in L.A. – (but) it was a rough day for him to get out there. They were obviously conservative with the passing attack. There was a lot of short stuff – a lot of slants, a lot of screens – but he’s playing in a bad situation with a really bad offensive line in front of him. We finally saw Todd Gurley get loose a little bit yesterday, but I think with Goff, there wasn’t anything where you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, the game’s too big for this kid. He panicked in his first outing.’ But it also wasn’t that Marcus Mariota perfect passer rating debut that he had in Week 1 last year. So there were some ups and downs, but I think there was enough to be encouraged about.”
While Goff remains a relative unknown, another rookie, Dak Prescott, has taken the league by storm, leading the Dallas Cowboys to their ninth straight win Sunday. Prescott threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-17 win over Baltimore.
Is Prescott as good as his record suggests, or is a strong supporting cast making him look that way?
“I think he’s done great,” Miller said. “It’s always tough to say after 11 weeks how good someone is going to be. But I think with Dak, what we can do is say that he’s stayed ahead of the curve. You look at other rookie quarterbacks – whether that was Mariota and Winston last year or Carson Wentz this year – NFL defensive coordinators have a way of figuring you out. They have a way of saying, ‘Okay, this is where he’s weak. Let’s attack him here, whether that’s a blitz or underneath coverage or whatever it might be.’ So I think the credit to Dak and that coaching staff and the offensive line and everyone there is this: He’s been able to stay ahead of that curve and not get bogged down once teams can start to scheme for him a little bit. So I think he deserves a ton of credit. Obviously he’s putting in the work or he wouldn’t be holding off a guy like Tony Romo, and they wouldn’t have the best record in the NFL. No matter how good the O-line is, no matter how good Ezekiel Elliott has been, he’s had to put the team on his back at times and make big throws and not make mistakes. So I think it’s weird because we in the media, it seems like we either give someone all of the credit or none. And sometimes with guys like Dak Prescott, they deserve a good share of the credit, but it’s okay to tip your hat to all the support staff they have around him that are helping them play as well as they are.”
Aaron Rodgers, meanwhile, is putting up good numbers – 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions – but the Packers (4-6) have lost four straight. Many people attribute the team’s offensive struggles to Rodgers’ mechanics, which haven’t been great this year.
Then again, when have they ever?
“It’s like a double-edged sword: When you’re winning, we praise those things. When you’re losing, it’s, ‘Oh, well, you’ve got to fix your mechanics. You’re not any good anymore,’” Miller said. “I think in Green Bay, yes, he has been bad at times throwing the ball down the field, but I also think the receivers haven’t gotten separation that they would normally get. The offensive line has struggled a little bit more this year. You can also look at the defense, which is again a problem. No pass rush, they can’t keep up with any kind of speed outside the hashes, they’re banged up in the secondary, so it’s more of a total systematic failure in Green Bay. It would be easy to say Aaron Rodgers is’t good anymore, but that’s not the case. He is struggling a little bit, but that whole team is struggling right now. He’s still getting the job done at a pretty high level. It’s just that now we’re seeing maybe some cracks in the facade that we haven’t seen in the past.”