Sean McVay on Jared Goff's days as Rams QB: 'There's a lot of times you can smile on'

In the weeks and months ahead of the dissolution of quarterback Jared Goff as the Los Angeles Rams' leading man, much ado was made about coach Sean McVay's less-than-glowing comments regarding his then-franchise QB.

On a sleepy, offseason afternoon Thursday, though, McVay looked back fondly on the days of Goff and deemed it unfair to pin the team's recent offensive woes squarely on the shoulders of the quarterback.

"What I think is important to make sure that I at least want to mention is the amount of good things and really great leadership that he provided since I got here as a head coach," McVay told reporters Thursday. "There's been a Super Bowl appearance, there's been a conference championship win, there's been two division titles, there's been three playoff wins that he was an intricate part of, there's been three playoff appearances. So what I'd rather focus on are the things that I think he did a great job of. Establishing himself in this league, the way he handled himself consistently day in and day out. All I can do is be appreciative of that. That's what I would say about Jared."

What McVay said during a 2020 season in which the once-ballyhooed Rams offense tied for 22nd in scoring was that the QB had "to take better care of the football" following a loss to the 49ers in which Goff had three turnovers. And after a season-ending defeat to the Packers, McVay's remark that Goff was the Rams' quarterback "right now," proved to be a foreshadowing of the divorce ahead.

With the trade sending Goff to Detroit and welcoming Matthew Stafford to L.A. unofficial until the start of the new league year on March 17, McVay is unable to speak on his new signal-caller, but he laid out the facts of past triumphs that all came with Goff under center.

Of Goff's five seasons in L.A., four were with McVay as head coach. The union produced two Pro Bowl trips for Goff, three playoff appearances in four seasons, three playoff victories (Goff started two and finished the third this past season) and a Super Bowl berth.

Goff had 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions during the Super Bowl campaign of 2018. His touchdowns decreased in each of the following two seasons and his interceptions rose. The 2020 offense was hardly what it was in that stellar season and the defense became the engine that drove L.A. success. McVay's play-calling became far more conservative.

"I don't know that really a lot changed," McVay said. "There's just so many things that have taken place since then. I think what I would say that I've learned over the last handful of years is things change by the day, and you probably want to be careful making blanket statements when you can't predict the future. So again, all I can go back to (is) appreciation for the times that we did have and wishing him nothing but the best moving forward."

But on this Thursday, it was difficult for McVay to look forward without the ability to openly discuss his future starting quarterback and the conversation was largely about his past starting QB.

McVay said the two had talked since the end of the season in Green Bay regarding his status, though it was a conversation he elected to keep private.

"I think Jared and I had a lot of conversations. We had one that I want to keep that between myself and Jared, but again I don't want to get into the specifics of those types of things," McVay said. "But when you look back on the four years that we did have together, there's a lot of times you can smile on."

Looking back with a grin and looking ahead with promise is hardly a bad point of view.

And though the McVay-Goff divorce was a bit messy, the Rams head coach wanted to make it clear that it wasn't all on the 26-year-old.

"I want to say there's a lot of things that, when I self-reflect, I certainly wish I was better for him in some instances and those are things you have to acknowledge and move forward and make sure you learn from every mistake that you make," McVay said. "Certainly, I'm not going to run away from the things that I could have been better for him as a leader and as a coach. But there was a lot of good things that occurred from 2017 and on that we can eventually really have a much better appreciation for. We have had good conversations that were healthy and I think we were able to both communicate open and honestly with one another, but those details I prefer to keep between us."

Between them, McVay and Goff produced four straight winning seasons and a march to the biggest game in sports. That shouldn't be forgotten in the conclusion of Goff's days in Southern California and, in looking back, it appears McVay hasn't lost sight of the glory days that were had.

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