Jared Goff on Rams' offense: 'We expect to be better'


The best teams in the NFL aren't playing their best ball in September. That comes in December, January, and, hopefully, February.

Teams use the early schedule to adjust to new personnel and discover what the best version of themselves should look like moving forward for that year. The top squads do this while continuing to win, even if those victories aren't pretty.

The New England Patriots are often the best example of this phenomenon, sometimes stumbling in September before steamrolling the AFC when the weather turns.

This year, it's the Los Angeles Rams who are trying to find themselves offensively while leaning on the defense to sprint to a 3-0 record ahead of Sunday's tilt versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Through three weeks Sean McVay's offense has been stuck in second gear, unable to shift.

Gone are the explosive downfield plays set up off play action. Gone are the drive-churning runs that move the chains.

"For us internally, our standards are so high, especially offensively," quarterback Jared Goff said Wednesday, via The Associated Press. "We expect to be better, and we need to be if we want to win games late in the year. We've been fortunate enough to do enough to win these past three games, but we know that in certain games down the road, it won't be enough. We need to elevate that standard even further and continue to be detailed and be sharp on offense."

The Rams haven't been the same since Week 13 last season when Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia unleashed a six-man front negating much of the Rams' outside zone runs. A blueprint for slowing Goff's offense was born. Bill Belichick, Patricia's previous boss, perfected the script in the Super Bowl.

As he's done all offseason, McVay has turned the finger on himself, saying he needs to be better at finding the answers for his players.

"Absolutely, I haven't done a good enough job for us," he said. "I think it starts with me. I like the way we've responded and been able to finish games out in the second half, but we expect to be sharper overall. If I do a better job, and then everybody else does a little bit better, we're hopeful that we'll see better results."

It's good of McVay to blame himself and not throw players under the bus, but the refrain is getting old. Whether it's his insistence that Todd Gurley's usage is his fault, or plays don't work because they were a bad call on his part, or yadda, yadda, yadda. McVay's been blaming himself since the offense put up three points in the Super Bowl.

Yet, for all the self-flagellation, the offense still hasn't found a groove. Goff looks discombobulated and a far cry from the self-confident slinger we saw early last year. Gurley still hasn't broken free on his questionable knee. Aside from a few splash plays from Cooper Kupp, the Rams' offense remains off-track.

Luckily for L.A., they have a defense that can smother opponents and plenty of time to find the answers that have thus far eluded McVay.