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Rams

Jared Goff looks forward to fresh perspectives amid Rams’ coaching changes

Rams quarterback Jared Goff walks off the field after a season-ending victory over the Cardinals at the Coliseum on Dec. 29, 2020.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff walks off the field after a season-ending victory over the Cardinals on Dec. 29 at the Coliseum.
(Getty Images)

Watching NFL playoff games, save for those involving friends, has not interested Jared Goff.

The Rams quarterback is in the midst of an offseason that came too soon. His team finished 9-7 and missed the postseason for the first time in coach Sean McVay’s three seasons as coach.

McVay spent the last two weeks remaking his staff.

Goff laments the loss of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, special teams coordinator John Fassel and running backs coach Skip Peete. But he trusts McVay implicitly and welcomes the addition of new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.

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“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Goff said Sunday before participating in the California Strong celebrity softball game at Pepperdine University.

A year after playing in the Super Bowl, Goff has plenty of time to ponder what happened this season and prepare for the next one when the Rams move into a new stadium in Inglewood.

Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, had flourished under McVay in 2017 and 2018. He helped the Rams win two consecutive NFC West titles and earn a Super Bowl berth.

Before this season, the Rams rewarded the two-time Pro Bowl selection with a $134-million contract extension that included a record $110 million in guarantees.

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But Goff and an offense that was once the envy of the NFL were inconsistent during a season in which the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks reemerged as powers. Goff passed for 22 touchdowns — the fewest in his three seasons as a starter — with a career-worst 16 interceptions as the Rams fell far short of expectations.

“Let’s look at the entirety of it,” McVay said after the season when asked whether major changes were necessary for the Rams to return to form. “This is something that is not as simple as just one thing here, one thing there.”

The decision not to retain Phillips, an NFL coach since 1976, was major. So was the departure of Fassel, nicknamed “Bones,” to the Dallas Cowboys.

Three of the four coaches left playing for a Super Bowl title are in the early stages of their careers. Andy Reid is the only veteran, but he’s never won the big game ... yet.

“You love what Wade did for us. You can’t ever look past that,” Goff said. “You’re so grateful for what he did. And losing Bones is tough, and Skip. ... But it is exciting. You see the fresh faces.”

O’Connell, 34, was the Washington Redskins’ offensive coordinator this past season and previously served as the team’s quarterbacks coach.

McVay is the Rams’ play-caller and de facto offensive coordinator. So O’Connell’s role is expected to be similar to the administrative one Matt LaFleur filled in 2017. LaFleur moved on to become the Tennessee Titans’ play-caller in 2018, and now coaches the Green Bay Packers, a winner over the Seahawks in an NFC divisional-round playoff game Sunday.

The Rams did not have a titled offensive coordinator in 2018 and 2019.

Goff said he was looking forward to working with O’Connell, a former San Diego State quarterback who spent time with five NFL teams as a player.

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“Adding a guy like him — he can add a lot of value and add a lot perspective,” Goff said. “It will be great.”

The Packers built a 28-10 lead through three quarters, then had to hold on as Russell Wilson and the Seahawks nearly took Green Bay down at Lambeau Field.

After the 2017 season, Goff traveled to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl and did interviews along Radio Row on behalf of a sponsor. Last season, he spent Super Bowl week in Atlanta preparing for what turned out to be a 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots.

Goff said Sunday that he had no plans to travel to Miami during Super Bowl week. Instead, he will continue finalizing details of an offseason workout program that will begin in February.

Goff indicated after the season that he might add a strength program to his regimen.

“There’s a lot of things I want to focus on this year,” he said Sunday. “I think I have the ability now to really invest in myself and put everything I have into myself, to come back better and stronger than ever and, hopefully, look back at 9-7 as a thing of the past.”


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