In January, Sean McVay – then 30, now 31 – became the youngest coach in NFL history. He served as offensive coordinator for Washington for three years before taking his talents to Los Angeles.
And he wouldn’t have done so if he didn’t think he had a quality quarterback, right?
Here’s looking at you, Jared Goff.
“Well, I think the biggest thing that you realize is when you’ve got a quarterback that you feel like you can win games with and gives you a chance to compete, then you feel like you’re going to have a chance to win every single game you’re in because of what that position entails when you’ve got a guy that you believe in,” McVay said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I didn’t do a whole lot of work on Jared coming out (of college). I’d seen a little bit but . . . didn’t do as much work as you typically would do. But when you look at him on tape – and some of the things even going back at Cal and really evaluating those seven games that he played in last year – what you really like about him is that you see a natural thrower of the football and you see a guy that’s tough to stand in there in the face of a rush and he’ll take a hit and keep his eyes down the field. I think those are two characteristics and traits that are extremely important, and those are consistent things that you’ll see across the league with those guys that play the position at the highest level.”
Goff, 22, completed 54.6 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and seven interceptions in seven games as a rookie. He struggled at times, and he looked good at times.
McVay, though, has been pleased with Goff’s progress this offseason.
“We were encouraged,” McVay said. “We know that we’ve got a long way to go – both as a team and with each position and myself included – but we’re encouraged with what we got accomplished this offseason. We know it’ll be a good little break that we have right now, but we can’t wait to get going in Irvine at the end of July.”
Of course, Goff being the No. 1 overall pick means he’s going to have a long leash, relatively speaking. When an organization invests the top pick in a prospect, it wants to give that prospect every opportunity to succeed.
McVay, however, believes Goff has earned that right.
“The guys that are there every single day – the coaches, the players, personnel who are evaluating what’s going on – you can’t fool them,” McVay said. “They know what it looks like. They know what the best guys look like in terms of giving ourselves the best opportunity to win football games when it comes time to play. I think that’s important. We owe it to the organization, to the fans and everybody, to our coaches and players, to be able to do that. We feel like Jared does that for us right now, which is a good thing. He’s made a lot of progress. Anytime you’re taken at that No. 1 spot, you’re certainly going to be given a lot of opportunities, but he’s earned that as well to be able to play at a high level through the offseason program.”
McVay was also asked about defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who has 163 tackles, 28.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and seven passes defended in three NFL seasons. Nevertheless, he remains unsigned after next season.
Shouldn’t the Rams ink Donald to a long-term deal? And fast?
“A lot of those discussions are ongoing with respect to our organization and his representation,” McVay said. “We’ve kind of kept those in-house, but what you know is this guy’s been a special player for this organization. Our intent is to have him always in a Rams uniform. I think you always want to be able to kind of protect and keep your own and reward them accordingly, and his play has merited being regarded as one of the best, if not the best, in this league. That’s something that we’re ongoing with, but Aaron’s an extremely important part of our goals and what we’re trying to get done this season and for years to come.”
The Rams, who went 4-12 last year, open the season Sept. 10 at home against Indianapolis. Kickoff is at 4:05 p.m. ET.