November 30, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Will Jared Goff be Rams’ starter? McVay vows to evaluate QB

The Rams signed quarterback Jared Goff to a $134-million contract extension before the 2019 season, and then watched his production fall the last two years.

On Sunday, a day after the Rams suffered a 32-18 season-ending defeat by the Green Bay Packers in an NFC divisional-round playoff game, coach Sean McVay spoke of creating competition at all positions, including quarterback.

Asked if he could envision a scenario in which Goff was not on the Rams roster next season, McVay was noncommittal.

“We’re in a situation that we’re in evaluation mode,” McVay said during a videoconference. “All those things are things that we’re moving forward, we’re looking forward and I can’t answer any of those questions until I take a step back and you evaluate everything that’s in the best interest of the Rams.”

Goff, 26, passed for 20 touchdowns with 13 interceptions during the regular season. He suffered a broken right thumb in a Dec. 27 game against the Seattle Seahawks and had surgery the next day.

John Wolford started in Goff’s place in the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals, and McVay opted to start Wolford over Goff in a wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks. After Wolford suffered a neck injury in the first quarter, Goff came off the bench and played error free while leading the Rams to victory.

On Saturday, Goff completed 21 of 27 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown against the Packers. After the game, asked if Goff was the Rams’ quarterback, McVay said, “Yeah, he’s the quarterback, right now.”

Asked on Sunday to elaborate, McVay reiterated that there would be competition at every position.

“Everything’s being evaluated,” he said. “I’m not ready to make any sort of statements with regards to anybody, starting position or not.

“We’re going to have a level of competition at everything that we do, and so that’s where we’re at. And I think being able to take a step back, catch our breath and evaluate everything as we move forward and try to be at our best, that’s my answer to the question.”

So, what did he mean by “right now”?

“What I’m evaluating is everything that we do — that includes the quarterback position,” McVay said. “But that includes everything, and so that’s where we’re at. … That’s not exclusive to the quarterback but it’s all-encompassing to our entire roster.”

McVay annually speaks after the season about evaluating positions as the Rams prepare for free agency and the draft. Sunday was the first time that Goff was not considered the de facto starter.

What changed?

“As you grow and you continue to learn, that’s just where we’re at,” he said. “And I’m not saying other than we’re evaluating that right now, and I think it’s important that you do that every single spot and no position is excluded from that conversation.

McVay again praised Goff for his resilience in playing through the thumb injury in the last two games. Asked what Goff must do in the offseason to give McVay confidence, the coach reiterated that he would step back and evaluate all positions before making decisions.

“The quarterback is no different,” McVay said. “But for me to be able to fully answer that, those are conversations that you have between your players first. And to be able to have the right plan of attack, I think you got to be able to take a step back and evaluate the entirety of it.”