Jared Goff carries a reputation for being even-keel and unflappable. Teammates and coaches past and present often describe the 24-year-old quarterback as having the same calm, collected, and confident demeanor no matter the game situation.
That isn't to say Goff never gets competitive, or fired up about certain things — he is human, after all. But it does mean he has a certain consistency that does help in most situations.
Check out the photos from the top offensive plays of the Rams 2018 regular season.
Which brings us to last year's experience in the playoffs, where Goff and the Rams fell to Atlanta 26-13 on Wild Card weekend. No one on the Rams played extremely well in that game, though Goff's final numbers don't look too glaring with him completing 24-of-45 passes for 259 yards with a touchdown. He was, however, sacked three times. And Los Angeles committed a pair of special teams turnovers that were critical in deciding the outcome.
On Wednesday, head coach Sean McVay made note of the quarterback's famous demeanor when describing how Goff handled losing to Atlanta last year.
"I think you guys know, with Jared, he's pretty consistent where he never gets too high, never gets too low," McVay said. "I think he knows that there's some things we could all learn from, that when we get an opportunity in those settings, in those situations again, we expect to be better. And I think he's done a great job being able to use those reps that he's had — whether it's against Atlanta, whether it's the 16 games we've played this year — to get better and to be intentional about using them the right way, whether they were good reps or bad reps."
"But I remember him being very confident," McVay added. "I think we were all disappointed with the result, with what an abrupt ending it was for such a great season last year, such a fun season. When it ends, it just happens so abruptly. But he was great about being able to watch the tape. We learned from it. And I think some of those things that happened in that game, you've seen him improve on it — specifically when we've seen some of those defensive structures."
There's no doubt Goff and the entire offense took a step forward in 2018, with the quarterback setting career highs in most major statistical categories — including yards (4,688), touchdowns (32), and completion percentage (64.9). But the quarterback would certainly like to improve in his second NFL postseason.
"Yeah, it was a big game," Goff said Wednesday, reflecting on last year's loss to the Falcons. "It was a game that I would've liked to play better, we would've all liked to play better. Ended not the way we would've liked it to. Hopefully, we can use some of those experiences as a positive and move forward with them."
It was pointed out to Goff that he's not the only high-profile, young quarterback who lost in his first postseason contest. And the Cal product echoed what his head coach said about just getting more experience in big-game environments in general.
"Yeah. I think anytime you're on that stage, any time you get a chance to play a good team in front of a lot of people, pressure-packed environment — the more experience you have in those situations, the better you are," Goff said.
So while the Rams don't know their opponent for Jan. 12, Goff and the rest of the team are taking time this week to refine aspects of their technique in preparation for what will be the second postseason test for most of the L.A. roster.
"Just trying to make the most of it," Goff said of the playoff bye. "We do have a week off, obviously, but get a chance to tune in on the finer details, sharpen up some things offensively and for myself. Just try to get a little bit better this week."