You’re not supposed to put much stock in the things players and coaches say during spring OTAs. However, what Rams head coach Sean McVay said about second-year quarterback Jared Goff on Tuesday sounds like an ominous warning about Goff’s future with the team.
Here’s what McVay said when asked about the competition between Goff and Sean Mannion, the team’s third-round pick from 2015:
“Right now, we feel very good about what they’ve both done. Jared has done a nice job getting better, but you always want to make sure that you’re playing the guy that you feel like gives you the best ability to win football games, because we owe it to our coaches, to our players and to this organization to do that. I think what we’ve seen is good for those guys, but right now Jared’s the starter and he’s done a nice job commanding that role.”
Goff is the guy the Rams traded a bundle of draft capital to be their next franchise quarterback and a marketable star in their new city. McVay’s not pulling the rug out from under last year’s first overall pick, but he’s not guaranteeing him anything either.
So what to make of this?
POINT: This is an organization motivated more by being a content production company built around a football team. Goff was drafted to be the competent signal caller the team’s been looking for since the days of Marc Bulger AND to get top billing on the marquee. They’ve got too much invested in the kid to toss him on the scrap heap after one year ... under a head coach who only ran an offense because he had to.
COUNTERPOINT: Goff was drafted by Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead. And while Fisher’s gone, Snead is still there. Who really called the shots when it came to the draft isn’t clear, but their lack of success drafting offensive players speaks for itself. We’ll know for sure this year if Snead bears as much responsibility for that as Fisher.
For now, it’s worth pointing out that Goff just isn’t very good, and might not ever be able to get to level they need. As Rotoworld pointed out this week, Goff’s rookie numbers are not particularly encouraging.
Of the 49 rookie quarterbacks to make at least seven starts since 2000, Goff posted the fourth-lowest touchdown total (five), sixth-lowest YPA (5.31), 15th-worst QB rating (63.6) and 22nd-worst completion percentage (54.6) ... Goff kept company like Blaine Gabbert and Quincy Carter.
A winning team is ultimately going to do more for this fledging “content company” than hanging onto stars who can’t get the job done. They need a winning team to fill seats in that gilded palace of a stadium opening in 2020.
POINT: The Rams hired McVay in part because he’s an offensive minded coach who has a successful track record with quarterbacks. McVay and his staff are Goff’s last hope to find some success.
COUNTERPOINT: McVay was part of coaching staff in Washington that pushed fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins over Robert Griffin III, a former Rookie of the Year and a guy Washington traded away a lot of draft capital to get.
Remember these words from McVay: “You always want to make sure that you’re playing the guy that you feel like gives you the best ability to win football games.” I have a feeling we’ll be referring back to them at some point this fall.