Jared Goff feels more comfortable.
As reporters peppered him with questions on Monday after the Rams’ first OTA practice of 2018, “comfortable” was the word the 23-year-old kept using to describe how he’s feeling about being Los Angeles’ starting quarterback.
“It just continues to get more comfortable. Comfortable is the best word,” Goff said. “Stuff begins to slow down a bit more. It seems like it does every year all the way through high school, through college and now into the NFL.
“It’s every year you kind of start seeing more,” Goff continued. “You’re not seeing it moving so fast, but you’re more actually comprehending what’s going on and seeing the defenses better.”
Those factors may sound a bit abstract, but head coach Sean McVay said he’s noticed plenty of growth from the young quarterback in those areas, too.
“I think he’s confident. I think he truly is becoming that extension of the coaching staff that you hear us refer to commonly. I think the game is slowing down a little bit for him — it certainly is,” McVay said on Monday. “We know there is going to be a lot of great challenges ahead, but I think in terms of the command and really taking a great grasp of the offensive system, while kind of understanding everything that we’re trying to get done, I’ve been really pleased with Jared.”
Goff is coming off a season in which he completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 3,804 yards with 28 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He finished No. 1 in the league with 12.9 yards per completion, leading the Rams to an 11-4 record — and an NFC West division title — in the 15 games he started in 2017.
As a quarterback going into his third year, Goff is also beginning to take more of a leadership role within the club. In many ways, that’s expected from a team’s signal-caller, especially one drafted at No. 1 overall. But having a year as successful as 2017 makes the process a bit smoother.
“I think anytime you can be in the same offense for more than one year, you know what you’re talking about and so you can kind of be confident and have an opinion in being able to correct things,” Goff said. “You have confidence in that because you know what you’re talking about in that to extent, being in it for one year.”
Goff’s teammates have noticed the quarterback’s growth with his demeanor both on and off the field.
“Definitely, you watch him grow everyday at just being our leader and commanding us, taking control of the offense — you see that grow and grow every day,” right guard Jamon Brown said. “The more confident he is, the more confident we are in him. I think that allows everybody around him to be confident. But definitely, you see those leaps and bounds everyday.”
Check out photos from day two of the Los Angeles Rams OTA.
“I think last year having been able to play all the way through, having the year that he did has really helped him,” wide receiver Cooper Kupp said. “[H]e took full responsibility for whatever it was that happened the first year. I know I wasn’t here, but whatever it was, he took full responsibility for whatever that was. And then to be able to go out and work in the offseason, come back and have the year he did, and just moving into this year he’s just elevated it that much more.
“He didn’t take any steps back, didn’t get comfortable at all, and just continued to grow as a person, as a football player, as a leader on this team,” Kupp continued. “Excited about the way he’s kind of pulled guys together and organized guys. In the offseason he was big on getting guys together, working on things, so that growth hopefully will just continue to grow as we move into the season.”
Given all the progress he’s made, Goff now has more leeway to take ownership of the offense in partnership with McVay.
“I think as time goes on that will continue to build. Through last year and this offseason, it has already,” Goff said, adding the practice on Monday “was a good example of that, kind of us bouncing stuff off each other — me asking him questions, him asking me questions and continuing to grow together.”
As the offseason program continues through the second full week of June, Goff said he’s looking to improve every aspect of his game.
“A million things. Like always, just trying to get better, trying to improve,” Goff said. “I want to continue to learn as much as I can about the defense and that side of the ball, and at the same time continue to master our system. Just become the best teammate and leader I can be.”