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Sean McVay Has Jared Goff Finally Playing to His Potential

Goff Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Before the 2016 NFL Draft, the Rams gave nearly an entire year’s worth of picks to the Titans to move up 14 spots and take Jared Goff with the number 1 overall selection. After an underwhelming preseason, the former Cal standout spent the first nine games of his career backing up journeyman Case Keenum.

Los Angeles started last season 4-5, scoring 10 points or fewer in five games. The page then turned to the Rams quarterback of the future.

To be kind, Goff’s debut was nothing short of a disaster.

The Rams lost all seven games in which he started, being outscored a staggering 221-85. Then head coach Jeff Fisher was fired in December, and many were quick to write Jared Goff off as just another first pick bust.

After assuming the Rams head coaching duties, one of the most important challenges facing Sean McVay and his offensive staff was fixing the player whom the team had spent a fortune to acquire. After a third of the season, that work seems to have paid off. Tiny slivers of hope have begun to emerge. During the Rams’ start, Goff has completed two-thirds of his passes and averaged over 8 yards per attempt. Through 5 games he’s thrown for over 1300 yards with 7 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions.

It should justifiably temper expectations that the three Rams victories came against opponents with a combined 4-11 record; but even having said that, it’s hard to deny that this year’s version of Goff has been every bit a competent NFL quarterback. The rookie mistakes on display last year have still occasionally surfaced (he may have had the worst game of his career Sunday against the Seahawks), but he’s also shown increased command of the offense and looks far more comfortable.

McVay’s presence seems to have given Goff a renewed sense of confidence and, by default, the Rams a chance to compete.

Now it seems that Goff was a quarterback with bad habits but not a broken psyche. So far this season, he’s quickly gone from being perceived as a first-round draft bust to one of the most valuable players in the Rams offense.

The better quarterback play has also opened things up for the Los Angeles ground attack. Todd Gurley has been enjoying a bounce back season after struggling last year. Defenses haven’t been able to load the box on every play because now they have to worry about Goff making them pay with his arm. Going into Sunday’s contest against the Seahawks, the Rams signal-caller was posting a 101.8 QB rating on passes over 20 yards.

The addition of Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Gerald Everett has the offense looking more potent than it’s been in ages, and Goff is taking advantage of every offensive weapon on the roster. If not for his dramatically improved play, the Rams would still be lost on offense, and it would be back to facing loaded defensive fronts for Gurley. Rams general manager Les Snead has taken a lot of heat for moving up in the draft to select Goff with the top pick.

Now, that heat has taken another about-face into excitement as the Rams continue to prove they are close to being legitimate playoff contenders.

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