Cal Football: Jared Goff's Early Success in 2020 Tied to Improved Mobility

On the run, Jared Goff completes a pass to Josh Reynolds.Photo by Bill Streicher, USA Today

Jeff Faraudo

Quarterbacks are judged primarily by win-loss record. And although it’s very early, Jared Goff gets a perfect grade by that measure right now: The Los Angeles Rams are off to a 2-0 start.

But the fifth-year former Cal star also grades highest among NFL quarterbacks in another category: Net yards per attempt.

This statistic takes into account passing yards per attempt, minus yards lost via sack.

Goff’s net yards per attempt so far is 8.78, highest in the NFL.

Seattle’s Russell Wilson, positioning himself as an early MVP candidate with nine touchdowns and one interception in two victories, is at 8.44 net yards per attempt.

Goff’s number is also better than a few other prominent QBs:

— Aaron Rodgers 7.91

— Patrick Mahomes 6.06

— Tom Brady 5.96

Goff’s spot atop this list is the result in large part to the fact that he has been sacked only twice for 15 yards through two games.

Through his first four seasons, Goff was sacked an average of 26.5 times per season, or 1.66 times per game. This year: 1.0 sacks per outing. Again, it’s early.

But Goff, who turns 26 years old on Oct. 14, credits believes offseason time spent on improving his footwork is paying off. In particular, he says it’s allowing him to be more efficient throwing the ball when he breaks out of the pocket.

“I know I’ve been on the move quite a bit early on. But I think it’s just trying to be good at stuff I’m not good at,” he said. “Early on in my career I wasn’t good at it, and I worked on it this offseason and many previous offseasons to get better at it.”

The added mobility also has led Goff to being a bit more willing to tuck the ball and run when a play breaks down. He’ll never be confused with Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson or Kyler Murray as a run threat — not to mention Wilson or Mahomes — but Goff has 28 yards on 11 rush attempts.

That includes a few zone read option plays, according to Eric D. Williams of Sports Illustrated’s RamDigest, and a successful quarterback sneak from deep in his own territory that led to a field goal.

Goff totaled 40 total rushing yards in 16 games a year ago.

Make no mistake, Goff understands who he is.

“I just try and play my game,” Goff said. “I don’t think I worry about trying to expand anything. I’ve done a good job on the move up until this point. My game is a drop back passer. That’s what I’ve been all my life.”

Rams coach Sean McVay has been pleased with Goff’s performance, which includes a 69.0 completion percentage, up from 62.9 percent a year ago.

In a 37-19 win at Philadelphia on Sunday, Goff completed his first 13 attempts and finished 20 for 27 for 267 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. It was his 10th career game with at least three TD passes.

“He played really well,” McVay said after the game. “He was outstanding. I thought he had great command of what was going on and recognized the different looks. (The Eagles) are a challenging defense with a lot of different things they can present. He got into a rhythm, and guys made plays. It starts with him and he did an outstanding job today.”

Goff and the Rams return to action Sunday on the road against the 2-0 Buffalo Bills, who rank fifth in the NFL defensively in yards allowed (332.0 per game) and sacks (3.0 per game).

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Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo

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