Cal Football: Jared Goff Takes Offseason Steps to Regain his 2018 NFL Magic
Jared Goff received a $134 million contract extension after helping the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
Then he assembled his worst statistical season as an NFL starter and the Rams went 9-7 last fall, failing to make the playoffs.
Goff, the 25-year-old Bay Area native and former Cal star, understands the how things work in the NFL. He knows that quarterbacks get an outsized share of the credit when things go well, and an equally significant piece of the blame when they don’t.
“It was that way before I got paid,” Goff said in an interview with the Los Angles Times. “It was never not on the quarterback. It’s always on the quarterback with every team, whether it’s a guy on his rookie deal or whether it’s a guy in his 20th year in the league. It’s always on the quarterback.
“What comes with that (contract) is a little bit more ownership and a little bit more feeling that responsibility of it, but at the same time you don’t put any more pressure on yourself as it being all on you. ... So I haven’t treated anything differently since my new deal. I think it’s just a part of something I earned those first three, four years and something I hope to earn again throughout my career.”
In preparation for his fifth pro season, Goff told the LA Times he made changes in his offseason routine that he has borrowed from six-time Super Bowl champion and apparently ageless Tom Brady.
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Brady, who also grew up in the Bay Area, has utilized cutting-edge strategies in nutrition and training to keep himself among the most efficient quarterbacks in he NFL as he begins his 21st season at the age of 43.
“People joke about Brady all the time about how he’s so serious about it,” Goff said, “but he seems to be on to something.”
According to the Times, Goff hired a trainer, had blood work done to identify what foods were best for him to maximize performance, then hired a chef to prepare meals tailored to his body chemistry.
He continued his offseason work with quarterback trainers at 3DQB in Orange County and spent more time in the gym.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Goff gave a typically understated response when asked about the changes.
“It’s nothing super scientific or over the top, it’s just basic stuff as far as what my body reacts to well and what it doesn’t react to well,” he said.
The Rams open their schedule Sunday night at home against the Dallas Cowboys, and fans will be watching to see how Goff responds.
His 22 touchdown passes last season were 10 fewer than he delivered during the Super Bowl campaign, and his 16 interceptions were a career-high.
But the Rams weren’t as good elsewhere as they were the year before, and move forward this season after parting ways with running back Todd Gurley, whose productions fell in 2019 after he rushed for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2018.
That explains the extra steps Goff took in the offseason, and both he and his teammates see a difference.
“My body feels probably the best it’s felt in a long time,” he said. “Feel healthy, feel fast, feel efficient and just have more energy.”
Echoed tight end Tyler Higbee, “Probably in the best shape of his life right now. Seeing him just moving around, throwing the rock around, his mobility is better. ... His leadership skills have even taken another step.”
“You can see that there’s a different gear with the way he’s preparing, the way he’s thinking about things,” added offensive lineman Rob Havenstein.
Coach Sean McVay, who operated without a specific quarterbacks coach, hired Kevin O’Connell to serve as offensive coordinator and QBs coach. O’Connell first saw Goff at a camp for top high school prospects, and he liked him from the start.
“Watching guys that are pure natural throwers of the football and everything from how the ball leaves their hand, to lower body mechanics to the natural movement skills and the fluidity ... you see it and you know that the hard part of the position for others comes easy to those guys,” O’Connell said.
So now it’s up to Goff and the Rams’ offense to build off their 2019 finish, when they scored 29 points per game over the final five games. Goff averaged nearly 329 yards, completing 66 percent with 11 touchdowns and just four picks over that span.
The Rams are often picked third in the NFL West — behind the 49ers and Seahawks — although SI's Jonathan Jones projects them to go 11-5 and finish second in the division behind Seattle.
Goff sounds motivated to deliver a nice bounce-back season.
“Of course you always want to get better from the year before — and statistically speaking it wasn’t my best year,” Goff said. “And I do want to play better. I do want to be more efficient. I do want to get the ball to receivers a little bit better, and I expect to and expect to stay on an upward trajectory.”
*** Jared Goff's NFL career statistics:
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