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Rams’ Jared Goff: ‘I’m in the mind-set that if I have to play ... I’m ready to play’

Jared Goff runs during Rams practice Thursday.
Jared Goff does some running during Rams practice Thursday.
(Gary Klein / Los Angeles Times)

The quarterbacks executed the game plan to perfection.

Remain on message. Stay cagey. Don’t make a mistake.

Rams coach Sean McVay, Jared Goff and John Wolford presented a unified front Thursday when asked in separate interviews about who would start for the Rams against the Seattle Seahawks in their NFC wild-card playoff game Saturday at Seattle.

Goff said his surgically repaired right thumb was “progressing well” but stopped short of saying he would play.

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“I think that’s what my message is going to be: It feels good and the progress is steady and increasing,” Goff said during a videoconference with reporters after practice.

Those were among Goff’s first public comments since he suffered a broken thumb against the Seahawks during a Dec. 27 loss at Seattle. He underwent surgery the next day, and then sat out Sunday as Wolford led the Rams to victory over the Arizona Cardinals, a win that put the Rams in the playoffs for the third time in four seasons under McVay.

If Rams quarterback Jared Goff can take the field without unreasonably jeopardizing his future, he must play against the Seahawks in the wild-card game.

On Thursday, as he has done throughout the week, McVay danced around questions about whether Goff would start — “We are going to work through that, and we’ll see on Saturday” he said — and Goff followed his coach’s lead.

“Ultimately, it’s his call, but it has a lot to do with where I feel I’m at,” said Goff, who was listed as limited on the injury report and questionable for the game. “Obviously, I’m not going to reveal anything. I feel good and I’m progressing well. Whether it’s starting, whether it’s not, I’ll be ready to go.”

But is Goff in the mind-set that he will start?

“I’m in the mind-set that if I have to play at any point, I’m ready to play,” he said.

For the second consecutive day, during the portion of practice that is open to reporters, Goff showed no visible signs of discomfort gripping or passing the football.

Goff said he took snaps under center during the closed portion, and McVay said Goff “made good progress.”

“He was able to do everything we asked,” McVay said.

Is there anything that Goff is not able to do?

“I’m going to stay vague,” Goff said. “It feels good, it feels good. It feels in a good place and its continuing to progress well.”

The one thing Rams coach Sean McVay feels his team can control is correcting an inability to score touchdowns in the red zone during their playoff opener.

Goff has passed for 20 touchdowns, with 13 interceptions. In the 20-9 loss at Seattle last month, Goff’s hand hit the helmet of a Seattle player, and he played through a thumb dislocation and fracture.

“It didn’t feel terrific,” he said, “but it felt good enough to play with.”

Goff, who signed a $134-million extension before last season, opted for immediate surgery with the aim of returning for the playoffs if the Rams earned a berth.

“It was either play with a broken thumb or get surgery, and in the interest of time, you do that as soon as possible,” he said. “The rehabilitation on that varies.

“I’m working as best I can to have it ready ASAP and that includes this week. Again, I’m not going to say anything about what’s happening this weekend, but it will be ready at some point, eventually, if it’s not this week.”

While Goff’s resumé includes four postseason games, including a Super Bowl, Wolford has played in only one NFL regular-season game. He passed for 231 yards, with an interception, and rushed for a team-best 56 yards in the 18-9 victory over the Cardinals.

John Wolford showed in the Rams’ victory over Arizona that he deserves to start over Jared Goff in Saturday’s wild-card playoff game at Seattle.

Wolford said Thursday that he was preparing for whatever role he might have Saturday.

“I’m trying to treat it like I would any other week,” he said. “Whether you’re the [No.] 2 or the [No.] 1, in my mind, your preparation should be the same. You’ve got to be ready to go. You never know when your number is going to be called.

“So, not much has changed in that regard, and I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing the past 17 weeks.”

The New Orleans Saints have used two quarterbacks in games the last few seasons. Wolford would not say if the Rams planned to do the same.

“Anything game-plan wise,” he said, “just because I know Seattle probably watches this — that could be in the cards, that could not be in the cards.”

Etc.

The Rams activated offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth from injured reserve. If he suffers no setbacks, he will start Saturday. ... Cornerback Jalen Ramsey on incidents Wednesday at the Capitol building in Washington : “It’s sad, obviously everybody sees it. It’s a shame and that’s kind of being nice about it in the terms I’m using.” He said it would not discourage him from continuing charitable efforts. “I won’t let that get me too mad and stop me from trying to make a positive difference where I can in the areas that I feel are important in my life and other people’s lives, and I’ll continue trying to help the youth because I think that’s who’s going to change all of this around eventually, one day. That’s what I believe in, so I’ll continue to do what I believe in and encourage others to do that as well, and then most important praying for kind of everybody, and praying for America.”


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