THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Los Angeles Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff has cleared concussion protocol and is set to start against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday. Sean Mannion, a third-round pick in 2015, will replace Case Keenum as the backup so the Rams can get a closer look at him before the season ends, interim coach John Fassel confirmed.
Goff, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick, entered concussion protocol after absorbing a vicious hit from Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman late in last Thursday's 24-3 loss in Seattle. But Goff practiced in full over the past two days and said he felt fine all along.
He never wanted to come out of the game in the first place.
"It was just a regular hit," Goff said. "I got up, went back to the huddle, and I hear the official blowing the whistle, 'You've got to get off the field.' I'm like, 'Why?' They said it was just the protocol. I don't want to go back too much to last Thursday, but I just think it's kind of tough.
"If that's a playoff game, or if that's a bigger situation, the game's close, you take the starting quarterback off the field, it's, in my opinion -- and I know they're trying to take care of us, but in my opinion -- not really a very good reason. I don't know how fair it is."
Goff nonetheless won't miss any time, despite absorbing way too many hits in his five-game NFL career.
The 22-year-old has taken 14 sacks in the past four weeks alone. In Week 14, he was sandwiched on a very late touchdown run in an eventual 42-14 blowout loss against the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 15, Sherman got the best of him. With nine minutes left, Goff avoided pressure and ran 15 yards up the sidelines, getting two yards away from the pylon before Sherman knocked him out of bounds.
"If I had seen him, I probably would've gone out of bounds," Goff said. "Didn't see him, kind of came out of nowhere. He made a hell of a play after watching it. He came from all the way on the other side of the field."
Goff will finally get a chance to play against his hometown team, after being inactive when the Rams opened their season against the 49ers in Santa Clara, California. Goff nonetheless called it "just another game to us," saying he is merely hopeful of getting his first win and continually improving.
Five games in, Goff sports a dreadful 24.6 Total QBR, completing 54.7 percent of his passes, averaging 5.5 yards per attempt and throwing four touchdowns to five interceptions.
A lot of the fault lies in receivers who have dropped too many passes and an offensive line that is allowing too much pressure, but Goff himself has also missed an assortment of throws he should make and is still adjusting to the speed of the NFL.
"I just want to continue to feel comfortable," Goff said when asked what he hoped to get out of these final two weeks. "I want to get my anticipation a little bit better. Be able to anticipate guys, where they're going to be, and get the ball out faster, not hold onto the ball so much, and take care of myself in the pocket, and make plays."