He “saw ghosts” on the field and couldn’t get his game going. When it was all over, the Los Angeles Rams lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 28-0, and Case Keenum had some abysmal numbers – 17 for 35 passing for 130 yards, no touchdown passes, and two interceptions. With Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season complete, he ranked last-place among all qualifying quarterbacks. But it would appear that Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, fresh off a contract extension, doesn’t want to hand the reins to 2016 first-overall draft pick Jared Goff just yet. Instead, he’s sticking with Keenum for the Rams’ home debut on Sunday.

Fisher never wanted to draft Goff, says Keyshawn Johnson

When a quarterback gets drafted first overall, it isn’t unusual for coaches to have him ride the bench for most of his rookie season as he learns the NFL ropes. But when said top pick is not just second-string, but third-string behind a mediocre journeyman and a hardly-tested youngster, it tells a lot about a coach’s faith in his rookie blue-chip quarterback, or lack thereof.

By the looks of things, Fisher is not at all sold on Goff. His current quarterback rotation has Keenum as the starter, 2015 third-rounder Sean Mannion as the second-stringer, and Goff as the third-stringer.

In a recent interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson cited his “outside … and inside people (within the Rams)” and said that Fisher was “basically forced” to draft Goff with the top pick in the 2016 draft.

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Johnson believes that Fisher may have wanted to become more competitive through additional veteran players, but Rams management nixed that idea, insisting on drafting a top-flight college quarterback to make their return to Los Angeles (from St. Louis) a success.

Keenum can expect to see more “ghosts” against Seattle

As for Case Keenum, he explained his poor Week 1 performance by telling reporters he was “seeing ghosts” against the 49ers, or seeing things that weren’t actually there.

He admitted he lacked confidence in his abilities as a quarterback, and may have pressed too much instead of letting things come naturally. And while he definitely wants to move forward and forget about Monday’s humiliating loss to San Francisco, he’ll have his hands full against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. And that’s one team with a particularly strong secondary that could end up catching his passes he isn’t careful.

Aside from having to deal with a secondary led by the colorful and talented Richard Sherman, Keenum will also have his hands full trying not to get sacked by the Seahawks’ defensive front. Defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril combined for 19 sacks in the 2015 season, and pose an imposing threat to the Rams’ offensive line.

Be that as it may, it may be too presumptive to judge Keenum’s 2016 NFL season on the first game of the year.

In three seasons as a backup, his 79.8 QB rating isn’t good, but it isn't all that bad. But another game or two like the Rams’ Monday Night Football debacle against the 49ers may force Jeff Fisher to reconsider his quarterback rotation once and for all.

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