Rams and quarterback Jared Goff upping their level of play

Rams and Chargers
Los Angeles Rams running back Mark Brown (34) in action against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Photo by George Laase

LOS ANGELES, CA-Last season the Los Angeles Rams went on another journey of production from their offensive unit, finishing the year as the 10th-best squad in the National Football League (NFL). Passing-wise, the Rams hit No. 10 in the league as well. Quarterback Jared Goff had a mercurial season, throwing for 3, 804 yards and 28 touchdowns.

So where do Goff and his offensive buddies stand after Week 3 of the 2018 NFL season? In a better place. One reason is that Goff is making and completing passes in much tighter windows, something of an improvement from last season, said Rams coach Sean McVay.

“Yeah, that shows up,” McVay said. “That’s why he’s a great football player. He’s not a system QB right, you know. I think the biggest thing is he’s making plays that great players make and that’s why you feel fortunate to have him leading the way. He’s continuing to take steps, he’s so coachable. I think (quarterbacks coach) Zac Taylor does an excellent job with him and the quarterbacks room as a whole. I think you just see the ownership, the comfort level as he’s accumulating these reps against certain defensive structures or systems.

Rams and Chargers
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp on his way to completing a 53-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Photo by George Laase

“He’s putting these in the memory bank and I think that shows up where he’s more comfortable and then guys are making plays as well,” McVay continued. “I mean you look at it really, our offensive players they consistently made big-time plays. Whether it’s (tight end Tyler) Higbee’s catch down the sideline, whether it’s those three receivers showing up. (Tight end) Gerald Everett had a couple catches and then the running backs. So, really I think everybody had their hand in that performance today by the offense. We’ve got to take better care of the football, but overall you know, they did a nice job today.”

It’s only been three weeks, but Goff is filling up the stat sheet quite impressively. After his 354 yards and three touchdown performance against the Los Angeles Chargers in the Rams’ 35-23 win on Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Goff is near the top of the list when it comes to passing yards. Only Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins stand between Goff at the No. 1 spot as the league’s top passer.

“He’s just being the player he has always been – just making plays and leading this offense,” said running back Todd Gurley, who rushed for a game-high 105 yards on 23 carries. “The play to (wide receiver Cooper) Kupp by scrambling and getting out of there, finding Kupp and Kupp making a great play. He’s been doing a great job of just leading us and getting yards.”

Rams and Chargers
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) passed for 354 yards and three touchdowns against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Photo by George Laase

As it is, Goff’s 941 passing yards after three games is not too shabby, landing him at the No. 3 spot.  As a result of the early success that Goff is having, the Rams have the No. 3 offensive unit as well. The Rams are averaging 34 points and 439 yards per game. The Rams produced 521 yards in total offense against the Chargers. It appears that Goff, running back Todd Gurley, and the rest of the Rams offensive weaponry have taken their playmaking abilities to another level.

Brandin Cooks, who was traded to the Rams from the New England Patriots, has already reaped the benefits of playing with Goff. Cooks has 19 receptions for 336 yards, averaging 17.7 yards per catch. Goff found Cooks seven times for 90 yards against the Chargers. But Goff’s chief target on the day against the Chargers was former Serra High and USC star Robert Woods.

Woods, who has the same number of catches on the season as Cooks, caught 10 balls for 104 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers. In all, Goff connected six different players for his 29 completions in the game. The Rams’ versatility on offense is what makes the team difficult to defend, said Woods.

“That’s just our offense,” said Woods. “That’s how it moves. Finding ways to find gaps, use everybody – fly sweeps downfield. This offense utilizes every single guy and keeps them all involved.”

All this talent makes for a happy quarterback. Goff seems to be quite satisfied with the playmakers he has to work with.

“Yeah, they’re all great,” Goff said. “(Robert Woods) ‘Woody’ getting 10 catches today, it was awesome. Again, like I say every week, it seems like another guy steps up every week. It kind of cycles. Today was Robert, Brandin (Cooks). Cooper (Kupp) played great. I mean they all played great. It’s good to have all three of them and Todd (Gurley II) in the pass game as well.”

Besides having his head coach as an offensive mastermind and outside of the fact he had great tools to work within the team’s offensive schemes, Goff could very be a product of comfortability in terms of what he sees now on the field and how he is able to disseminate defensive coverages. Making those tight throws McVay alluded to could have something to do with that, Goff said.

“I think I’m getting more comfortable with anticipating stuff and anticipating windows and that may be part of it,” said Goff. “That just happens as you grow and get better. So yeah, that may be part of it, but like I said, I feel good right now and I feel confident. Got the (Minnesota) Vikings in four days so got to get ready.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1301 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.

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