If there's ever much of a slow time when it comes to news in the NFL, we're in it. For the most part, players are off on vacation or training on their own. But this is also the period where personnel staff and coaches are meeting to determine how teams will set up their prospect meetings at the NFL Combine later this month, as well as how they'll approach the beginning of free agency.
Given those parameters, things are a bit tight lipped when it comes to news — mainly because teams are still in the planning stages and there isn't much concrete.
That said, there's still plenty to talk about leading up to those key offseason events. So let's get to a few of your questions in this week's mailbag.
Quarterback Jared Goff was asked a variation of this question during locker clean out on Jan. 7, and his response was "A lot of different things."
"[B]ecome a better leader, a better teammate, a better player, and everything in between," he added.
That, I recognize, is not really a satisfying answer to your question, Alfredo. I tend to think there's not one glaring area where Goff struggled so much in 2017 that it's concerning for a young quarterback. Ball security could improve, as evidenced by Goff's eight fumbles. The quarterback himself has mentioned at times how he'd like to improve his footwork in certain situations, becoming more consistent.
And yet, I also think just having a second year in the same playbook with the same play caller in head coach Sean McVay will be a significant benefit to Goff and his development. In 2017, the quarterback experienced his third playbook in three years. That can be tough on anyone, especially a signal-caller. The more coaching Goff receives from McVay, the better off the Rams will be.
But let's also address the first part of the question because a lot of you have asked me who the Rams are targeting in free agency or the draft and the truth — the honest truth — is that I don't know because I'm not in those meetings.
Do I have an idea of moves the Rams might need to make based on some expiring contracts? Sure. But no more than is already public.
But even if I did know, it probably wouldn't be beneficial to my job security to divulge my employer's roster plans, you know? And I do like my job.
Anyway, back on track and moving on with…
There's going to be a lot involved in the Rams potentially improving on their 11-5 record and NFC West title in 2018. But at NFL Honors earlier this month, McVay boiled it down to the way the club must go about every day.
"I know that there will be some raised expectations, but we love that. We won't shy away from it," McVay said. "What it's going to be about for us is staying with our process and developing a standard of performance. And that's one day at a time, one practice at a time."
Again, it's sort of a generic answer and it might not be satisfying. But the Rams were able to become NFC West Champions in 2017 by taking that kind of approach in McVay's first year.
One thing that will help L.A. is that the club doesn't have to add many new coaches to the fold. There have been some changes on the staff — Aaron Kromer (run game coordinator), Shane Waldron (pass game coordinator), and Zac Taylor (quarterbacks coach) all received promotions. But the defensive staff remains in tact. And the only truly new face is senior offensive assistant Jedd Fisch. That means the coaches know the players — their strengths, their weaknesses — and the players know the coaches. All that familiarity should aid in the comfort of having a system and playbook in its second year as opposed to a first. The Rams can start the offseason program by building on what's already in place rather than installing everything for the first time.
This is an interesting question because based on injuries and expiring contracts, Hill might be in that role by default. It's well known that Trumaine Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner, and Nickell Robey-Coleman all are set to become unrestricted free agents when the new league year hits in mid-March. Plus, cornerback Kayvon Webster is currently rehabbing two injuries — the season-ending Achilles injury and a shoulder injury Webster played through for the majority of 2017.
Hill, too, is an exclusive rights free agent. But unless the Rams decide not to tender the cornerback a contract, he's highly likely to remain in Los Angeles in 2018.
Based on all that information, I think it's definitely possible Hill could be the Rams' No. 2 corner when the season begins. But then again, it's February and the season doesn't start for nearly seven months. So while I'd be remiss to rule it out entirely, also can't say definitively that's the direction the Rams will choose.
Thanks for all your questions, everyone. If you sent in a question and we didn't get to it here in the mailbag, I'll do my best to get back to you via Twitter. Enjoy the long weekend!