THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – After a week in which John Wolford (neck) did not participate in practice while Jared Goff (right thumb) was a full participant each day, Goff will be starting at quarterback for the Rams in Saturday's divisional round playoff game against the Packers in Green Bay (1:35 p.m. PT, FOX).
"I've been that way since I've been here," Goff said during a video conference Thursday, when asked what it feels like to be told early in the week that he is the starter. "So, it feels good. But, I'm ready to go and feel good."
Unlike the leadup to last week's wild card game against the Seahawks, there was no mystery about who would be starting this week. Wolford's neck injury lingered enough for it to affect his participation this week, while Goff's right thumb continued to heal in the right direction.
"I think, like I mentioned, it continues to get better," Goff said. "I think it feels good. I'm in a good place with it. Over time, just over and over hitting it, there is a slight soreness, but nothing that's hindering me in any way. I think overall it's progressing in the right way."
In his postgame video conference following Los Angeles' win at Seattle, Goff told reporters that other than some swelling, "there's no pain" and his thumb felt "fine." The only reason it wasn't 100 percent was because he was just 12 days removed from surgery.
However, the recency of the surgery was still close enough that Rams head coach Sean McVay felt more comfortable starting a healthy Wolford over him, with Goff effectively in an emergency backup role. Goff said McVay's decision was "tough," because as a competitor he wanted to play and was ready to play, but he respected it. Goff would enter the game anyway as a result of Wolford's neck injury and help lead the team to victory.
"I think I explained it last week. We are able to disagree," said Goff, when asked if the decision affected his relationship with McVay. "We're two grown men who disagreed on the status of my thumb, it's not the end of the world. I think I was able to come in there and help us get the win and that is most important to me. It's something that we talked about last week and he had to plan accordingly. He's the head coach. He has to make tough decisions like that. At the end of the day, it was last week and we've moved on."
McVay on Thursday said Goff "handled last week really well."
"Jared and I had great conversations last week," McVay said. "There's a lot of different things that go on and in our building, day-in and day-out that you navigate, you negotiate through it. But that's part of being able to work together, figure out how we move forward from whether good things or if there's somewhat of a setback."
Meanwhile, Wolford will still travel with the team and be part of the road playoff experience again despite being inactive.
While Wolford did not participate in practice this week, he said he feels like he's "progressing pretty well" and that the ambulance and neck brace after his injury last Saturday were both just precautionary measures. He said he felt like he could've drove to the hospital and that the photo of him in the ambulance and wearing the brace made the injury look worse than it actually was. He later returned to the stadium in time to celebrate the wild card win with his teammates in the locker room.
From a functionality standpoint, Wolford said he is "not super-limited," but "there's just risk with these types of injuries coming back too soon," hence his status.
In the meantime, just like when he started in place of an injured Goff, Wolford will be doing his part to help Goff succeed on Saturday.
"I'll be looking at the Microsoft Surface (tablet) and then I'm obviously closely watching the game," Wolford said. "So, it'll be the same rhythm that it was for the first 16 weeks of the year. Sometimes you get a feel for when a guy wants something or when he doesn't want to be bothered. We've kind of built a rapport in that regard."