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Jared Goff will be inactive for Rams' season opener

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When the Rams open their season against the 49ers on Monday Night Football, No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff will be in street clothes and a punter will be the team's emergency third-string backup.

That's the latest from NFL Network's Steve Wyche, who spoke with Rams coach Jeff Fisher on Tuesday. Fisher told Wyche that Sean Mannion will be the team's backup and punter Johnny Hekker will be the emergency backup. Teams almost never make three quarterbacks active due to special teams availability, which is the main reason why Goff is sitting.

Fisher added that Goff and Mannion could potentially switch for the home opener against Seattle the following week. He also called Carson Wentz's situation in Philadelphia completely different from that of Goff. The Eagles felt good enough about the No. 2 overall pick to trade their starter and elevate Wentz into a Week 1 starting role. Fisher, according to Wyche, said that "Goff will one day be the starter but not until he is ready."

"Jared's had a great camp, so has Sean. Case is clearly our starter. I think Week 1 just to settle things down and let Jared go through the experience it's probably going to be, like I mentioned last week, it's probably going to be three and inactive," Fisher said. "That's just how it goes. And then next week we'll flip them. I just want him to feel and sense and absorb the pressures of Week 1. He's going to be a great player. As we've said from Day One, we're not rushing him. We don't have to rush it. I'm really happy with where he is right now. It's unfair to compare him to anybody else. I know Philly has got their situation, it's a little different and trading Sam so Carson is going to start, but you know Jared is in a good place right now. He's done some really good things, so I'm really pleased with his progress."

This move can be interpreted 1,000 different ways. On one hand, if a team is going to invest the amount of equity that the Rams have placed in Goff, wouldn't they expect Goff to lead the team on opening night?

The Rams have also been steadfast in their comments about Keenum, who is a free agent after this year. General manager Les Snead and Fisher both indicated that there was a real chance Keenum would be the starting quarterback to open the season. A ho-hum preseason for Goff -- 22-of-49 passing (44.9 completion percentage), two touchdowns and two interceptions -- likely didn't help his chances of ascending the depth chart so early. It's also important to remember that some old-school coaches simply prefer to make their top picks earn the privilege. Eli Manning, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft, did not start a game for the Giants until Nov. 21, 2004. Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall pick the following season, did not start a game until October.

The Rams feel like they have a winning team, which is the only reason why they wouldn't prefer Goff get his lumps and learn from his mistakes. If he continues to be inactive on game day, though, more questions will be raised. In the meantime, Fisher says he'll continue to get substantial practice reps.

"We're probably no different than anybody else," he said. "I'm going to have both Sean and Jared work against the defense. I hold the card, and when I hold the card, I want them to put it in our terminology. So I show them the card real quick, they call the play and they go. So they learn. The reps are valuable. They're hard to get, but he's going to get them. It's just a matter of him -- I think the reps are one thing, and we'll get him reps -- but it's just a matter of him feeling everything. You just kind of feel it. So we're in a good place. Regardless of what everybody else is saying out there, he's our quarterback, he's going to be our franchise player, it's just not right now."

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