At some point Sunday night, after a full day of NFL games conclude and the leftover wings and brats are wrapped up tightly and tucked away in the refrigerator and the barbecue grills are scrubbed clean and neatly covered, a whole bunch of tired heads will hit a whole bunch of pillows across Los Angeles.
What happens next — whether sleep arrives rapidly and happily and satisfied for Rams fans, or it is prolonged, anxious and concerned — will rely heavily on how a certain second-year quarterback plays Sunday afternoon against the Indianapolis Colts.
It’s not like all the angst and optimism and worry and confidence and doubt and conviction about Jared Goff will be validated or invalidated.
It will take much more than the opening game of a new season to fairly arbitrate the varying degrees of credence or apprehension about Goff, the polarizing first overall pick in the 2016 draft whose disastrous rookie season was either the fault of the impossible situation the Rams put him in or damning evidence he was miscast as the future face of the franchise.
We likely won’t won’t be anointing him the next big thing or kicking him entirely to the curb based on one game, either.
A season opener at that.
But deep down in our football souls, a place where the lasting snapshots of the greats, the average and the busts among the hundreds of NFL quarterbacks that preceded Goff impartially reside, we’ll have a much better idea where all this is headed.
The direction of which will define the Rams’ second year back in Los Angeles and the immediate future that follows.
Goff, to his credit, seems eager to embrace the challenge. And it would be disingenuous to claim he hasn’t provided snippets of evidence he is much further along now than at any point last year.
Aside from an All-Pro caliber play by Chargers pass-rush demon Joey Bosa to strip sack Goff and force a 76-yard touchdown fumble recovery and one very lousy overthrow by Goff for an interception, the former Cal star was mostly effective during the preseason while completing 24 of 32 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown. Of the first six drives he presided over, he directed the Rams to scores on four of them, connecting on 75 percent of his passes.
Throughout OTAs and training camp, he looked much further along this year compared to last.
This isn’t the overwhelmed Goff we saw last preseason, the one who didn’t make the active roster for the season opener and then sat nine weeks before finally getting…