Jared Goff burst on to the scene as the starting quarterback for the California Golden Bears as a true freshman. Goff exploded in his first several games of his career, as he threw for over 1,800 yards in the first four full games of his career. The early display of promise tantalized the Golden Bears’ fan base, but a rough second half of the year showed just how much growing the young signal caller had left to do. The following offseason looked like it was going to be a key growth period for Goff, but a late injury changed those plans quickly.
In the final game of the season, the quarterback was hit hard on sack by Shayne Skov. The hit ended Goff’s season, as he suffered a separated shoulder in his throwing shoulder. The separation was severe enough to require surgery, which occurred at the end of November. The average recovery time following shoulder surgery is four to eight months to regain full mobility of the joint. The recovery time would put April-May the likely return date, which would allow him to return just in time for spring practice.
During the early part of spring practice, Goff seen some action, but very little compared to the other quarterbacks that are participating. He has not shown much with the limited amount of snaps that he has received, as he has struggled with his accuracy. It is nothing to stress about early on, as it is most likely just rust coming back from the injury.
The most interesting part of Goff’s return has been the comments of his head coach, Sonny Dykes. Dykes and his coaching staff are not taking any chances with the promising, young quarterback, as they are going to ease his workload coming back. This is what he told reporters prior to spring practice:
“We’ve got to be careful not to put too much on him and blow his arm out early. We’re going to bring him along slowly, probably split reps early and see how he handles it, see how he feels, give him the occasional day off. It’s going to be important that we manage him the right way.”
They want to make sure that their starting quarterback is 100 percent healthy before returning to a full workload. They do not want any lingering effects to hinder his development going forward, but is holding him back during the spring going to affect his growth in the upcoming season?
Simply put, the Cal coaches are making the right call in holding back Goff. They should not jeopardize his future to rush him back before his is completely healthy and ready. The case study that justifies their decision happened just across the bay with San Francisco 49ers.
Mike Nolan, who was the head coach, rushed back Alex Smith from a shoulder separation before he was healthy and he looked completely ineffective returning to the starting lineup late in the season. The in the following season, he suffered another injury to the same throwing shoulder that cost him the entire 2008 season. Coming back from that first injury to quickly most likely had some impact on causing the second injury.
The fact the Goff is still just 19 years old makes this decision even more important. You do not want to take the chance of costing him games over the course of several seasons, or create an issue of a chronic injury. Goff is still growing and developing physically, which make it vital that injuries are taken care of properly. This team is still a least a year or two away, so you do not waste his potential on rebuilding years and keep him from helping this team challenging in his upper-class years.
Coach Dykes fully understands this and he is making the right call in his handling of Goff. He knows that this team is still rebuilding and that Goff’s development is key to their success in the future. He has a bright future for the Golden Bears and Coach Dykes is going to do everything in his power to make sure that Goff can achieve his potential.