Peeling Apart Goff vs McVay: Goff's Upside

Background: Longtime Cal fan here. Been watching almost every game since Goff was a freshman at Cal. Enjoyed watching him help lift both Cal and LA to relevance again from years of losing seasons. Hoping he can do the same for Detroid.

Loved Marvin Jones Jr in his time at Cal. So glad to see him have success with the Lions and hope he stays for Goff.

Did a stint as a sideline reporter at Cal during my time there when we were lucky enough to have Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch at the same time.

As someone who has watched Goff over the last 8 years I want to peel apart what is Goff versus what is McVay.
McVay is a good coach that builds a strong team. Energetic and detail oriented. Is he a perfect fit for Goff? No, with the caveat that the Rams had better pieces than most teams (good defense, WRs, and RB) for the better part of 4 years.

Goff Background
Goff has taken a step back the last half of 2020. He is playing more tentative and is forcing bad throws. Has Goff peaked? I don’t believe so. It looks to me like he is overthinking and suffering from mental lapses or there were bad trust issues with McVay. How do I know?

  1. At Cal, Goff was awesome at both the quick pass game (hurry-up) and deep game. He was never a “Check-down Charlie”.
  2. He led us on so many 4th quarter comebacks with ice in his veins. If we lost, it was our defense or the receiver missing a catchable ball.
  3. Countless times he led 50 second drives when we needed a quick score. This is very rare under McVay…(see below)
  4. At Cal, Goff was often a slow starter but would get stronger as the game wore on. He didn’t suffer from mental breakdowns in the 4th quarter like previous quarterbacks or the competition.
  5. His offensive line at Cal was horrible. They ran a vertical set and he rarely had time. He would maneuver and get the ball out quickly. Something he did well in 2018 but not as well this year.
  6. Goff was money against pressure in college. Someone can look up the stat. All I could find was this espn article Jared Under Pressure Meaning Goff at one time was good against pressure.

McVay Observations
Rams are lucky. 4 straight winning seasons. Superbowl appearance. Should he be McVay OC too? No he should give up game day play calling. He has been outclassed against better defensive coordinators. His scheme is not that great.

  1. Under McVay, the rams have been mostly poor in the 2 minute drill. Goff was terrific at 2minute. No Huddle? No problem! It also shows when the Rams are down that they struggle to score quickly. Is this intentional? Does McVay want to keep time of possession to protect the defense? All short-route YAC receivers? Is the goal 10 play drives all the time?

  2. He always spends every second talking to Goff until the 15 second mark. Part of what makes McVay a top coach is that he prepares his team very well. He has notes for all players all the time. He drafts/recruits football junkies that care like he does about the nuances. Is this too much for Goff to process 60 plays a game every game? Is he overcoaching Goff to the point of analysis paralysis? I tend to think this is the case. The way to confirm would be to see if Stafford or whatever future QB suffers the same climb then drop after a few years of McVay. Anyone who has followed McVay with Griffin/Cousins, did the same climb and drop-off occur?

  3. Redzone problems. Goff was never Rodgers in the redzone but he was pretty good at Cal. McVay on the other hand was not at Washington and those struggles are continuing. I think this is more play calling and formation. If you have a huge TE/possession WR you can throw those fades. Gives you more power-blocking options as well or add another lineman.

  4. Control freak? One of the most interesting things I thought to happen was Matt LaFleur leaving after one season. I think I read it was because he wanted to call plays? Now he is HC at Green Bay and they have done very well.
    There’s been a different Offensive coaching staff aside from McVay every single year at the Rams. That could explain some of the inconsistency for Goff.
    How much of losing coaches is McVay’s Personality versus guys getting poached like Zac Taylor/Staley? This year McVay lost almost every single coach from his team. Packers are now interviewing their Safety coach as possible DC.

Overall I suspect that McVay is over-coaching at times. He struggles to manage the clock and it results in a lot of penalties/delay of game. It doesn’t give Jared a lot of freedom to get a play, go the line and take advantage of what he sees. He often has about 10 seconds to get the play out, look around and go. Sean’s primary goal on every play appears to try and take advantage of matchups. The problem is that great defensive coaches have learned how to disguise the matchups and trick the rams.

Goff with the lions?
A new coaching staff brings a world of possibilities. Goff is a good player and far from broken. He needs to mesh well with the new coach because he can make all the throws. I can’t wait to see what he can do because I do believe he is a top 12 QB in the right circumstances.

Rams better without Goff?
Very hard to say. Stafford was about as good of a QB as you could expect to find on the market aside from maybe Watson. Stafford is not a mobile QB which all 3 of the Rams backups are. Why did he get an immobile guy? McVay had Griffin at one point and seemed to want to go to a Mobile QB as his next guy.

The Rams will likely be winning team again next season. The Rams Defense was a bit overrated: great against the pass, and soft against the run. I expect the Rams Defense to be down next season and Offense to be up with Stafford making for another 10-11 win team.

How do we feel about Lynn as an OC? Herbert looked awesome this season but their offense overall struggled.


Very interesting and well written post!

The more coaches the Rams lose the better. The NFC West is loaded with good teams. It’s no lock the Rams are even going to make the playoffs, especially if the defense regresses after losing most of their coaches on that side of the ball.

Nice insight!! Great to hear about Goff. It’ll be interesting to see how McVay changes things up, assuming he does. Things get limiting quick when you try to run out of the same formation every time. Didn’t strike me as just plug + play for stafford. Like to think McVay knows this by now. Marvin in that WR group would make a big difference.

Thanks for the effort. As far as my opinion of Lynn or what I’m expecting… Really, nothing. I’m kinda neutral on it right now. Same with Goff. We’ll just have to wait and see how he plays. I like that we have Brunell here to coach him and that we are clearly going to be working on the run game. There’s no expectations on anyone here, so let’s get the blocking figured out and get a respectable run game built, winning be damned.

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This is a really great post BearlyThere. Thank you for taking the time to put that together.

I have wondered about Matt L. leaving for the Titans after one season with Sean. That always seemed a bit strange. The Rams also let him go. Weird. That was in 2017. Kevin O’Connell is the OC now in 2020. But in 2018 and 2019? Kevin was the OC in Washington in 2019 before being hired in 2020 with the Rams. There was no OCF in 2018 and 2019.

Silly story by me:
Love seeing a Big Ten school go out west and play late night games. One of my fav programs, Northwestern heads out to play an underwhelming Cal program. Cal has this skinny frosh named Goff starting for them. Go Cats!
This kid can sling it! What am I seeing here?
3 years from now, I hope he stays under the radar and the Lions can pick this kid up in the late rounds.

Rams trade their future for him.

Rams give up their future to move him to my Lions squad.
The world keeps moving.


Yes technically McVay was his own coordinator and he had a bunch of QB coaches. All those guys like Zac Taylor (hired as HC to the Bengals last season) left or were promoted. Word is that it’s because McVay refused to give up controls.

Staley, the new Chargers HC tried to take O’connel with him. Supposedly McVay blocked him because it was a lateral position.

Thanks for the feedback. I do have one question for you though.

Do you think Goff looks more like Ryan Gosling or Michael Cera?


I think they got married and had a child!

When in a suit and cleaned up I think Gosling. When he takes his helmet off, more like Cera.

Btw, one of the most interesting debates on the Rams Forum is what level of impact Goff’s play has been impacted by his model Girl friend… Seems like his play has somewhat gone down since she arrived on scene. 25 year old kid has his first 1yr + relationship.

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That is interesting. Kind of a red flag for Sean, no?

When Patricia was hired here in 2018 his first big hire was his friend Paul Pasqualoni as defensive coordinator. That was a red flag for many but we thought he was the de facto DC himself so maybe it was not a big deal. Looking back that was the first BIG red flag. Inability to attract and/or keep quality NFL coaching speaks to one’s leadership skills on some level.

Sean’s offenses do produce but it is fair to think maybe there is more to this story concerning the development of Goff as well as abilities of Sean.


Welcome to The Den BearlyThere!

Thank you for your well written and informative post. You have found a group of hearty died in the wool Lions fans. It’s a very passionate group that has been energized by changes made since Qunitricia was fired. The offseason is typically a Lions fan Super Bowl…but this season has been unlike any of us have seen. Will it work out?..we’ll see.

I hope you’re right about Goff, we’ll see how it goes. There’s a lot of things in flux right now and our new staff is…well new…like raw with potential new. We’ll see how things settle out next season, lots of balls in the air.

What are your thoughts on the effects of the Rams losing both Brad Holmes and Ray Agnew. Do you see the Rams regressing on their drafting?


Thank you! Excited to see. Goff has been a huge part of 2 complete rebuilds so he has that history in him.

I think the loss of Holmes and Agnew is a huge hit for the Rams and Boon to Detroit. I definitely thing the Rams will begin to start digressing. Loss of draft capital is one reason. Loss of Holmes and Agnew the other. Holmes already made a good move in the trade. More than most thought possible.

The rams have been outstanding at drafting under Holmes and Snead. Even in the Fisher era they got a lot of good players and the cupboard was stocked for McVay. They had a couple of big busts in Tavon Austin and Greg Robinson. Snead basically said he can’t draft in the first round because he is looking for game changing freaks (including Aaron Donald) and his success rate there has been iffy.

How much is Holmes eye versus Snead? Hard to say. Holmes was given credit specifically for identifying all of the great DBs on the Rams. He also identified Goff. He has been able to find guys under a rock that turn into pro-bowlers. Darius Williams this year should have been a pro-bowler! Undrafted Player.

This year Holmes has the entire draft board that Snead has too from at least December. It will change a little for each team based on Senior bowl and position needs.

My prediction is that Holmes will want to get more picks so he can build up the depth at each position. He knows he can strike gold in the 5th-7th rounds. Quality starters are there as long as the coaching staff is willing to put in the time with rookies. He wants 12-14 picks at least. How many does Detroit have now? 9?

Holmes is also great at finding out of favor Free Agents and looked over Undrafted Free Agents.

The Rams have had their share of injuries and yet the next man up always played nearly as well and sometimes brought something new to the table. Rams are one of the youngest teams in the league. Detroit will be heading that direction.


At the moment, only six. Rounds one thru 5 and the 3rd from the trade.

See that is a problem. Can 6 very good rookies turn the Lions into a winning team? 3-4 on defense and 2-3 on Offense? How about 12 rookies + another 30 undrafted guys that will actually compete to be starters?

That is what you want from your GM. Someone that can bring in 40 new guys to make the team better at every position.

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Damn brother. Thank you for your input.

This philosophy would explain a lot, when it comes to staffing hires.

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You would think Holmes would know if this portrayal by BearlyThere is accurate and is why Holmes wanted Goff as part of this package.
Holmes knows what he saw from Goff at Cal and he knows how McVay has utilized him differently in LA. That may have been the reason for optimism for what Goff could do in Detroit.

Now, is BearlyThere accurate in his description, no idea, but seems well balanced and thought out post, if he is then there is reason for optimism with Goff.


I just wanted to give another shout out to Bearly. What a phenomenal post! I wish we could get quality analysis like this from our local reporters. Thank you!


We get that sort of analysis, it just comes from @wesleysh21 and @DeadStroke


Cheers to that @BigNatty!


There really is some amazing content here. Wonder if @Nate (sure do wish he’d change his name or handle to The Godfather), could monetize by selling some of you guys’ contributions to the papers. Let’s run some of these shitty reporters off and put some of YOUR stuff in the Free Press. So much better of an idea than a jaded (no offense to you, @JadedLionsFan) , manipulative beat-writer.

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