Jim Mora: Rams, Matthew Stafford a match made in heaven

Former UCLA head coach says he never feared Jared Goff in college
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Former college and NFL coach Jim Mora believes the Los Angeles Rams got a quarterback in Matthew Stafford that will help lead them to an NFC West division crown and eventually a Super Bowl.

The former Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and UCLA head coach now serves as a college and NFL analyst for ESPN. During our conversation, Mora discussed why he’s bullish on the pairing of Stafford with Rams head coach Sean McVay.

“I think you’re going to get the best out of Matthew Stafford, and I think you’re going to get the best out of Sean McVay,” Mora said. “That synergy and energy they’re going to create is going to help both of them. I don’t think Matthew wants to let down Sean, and I think Sean wants to make sure he’s does all he can to help Matthew reach his dreams and the things he’s worked for his whole career.

“Remember, this is a great football player who kind of got buried in Detroit. And that’s not a knock on the city, but we all know what the Detroit Lions have been unfortunately. I think it’s a great move. I think they’re going to get chunk plays down the field. I think they’re going to get toughness, and they’re going to get intensity. I think they’re going to get great buy-in.”

Mora also commented on what he believes Jared Goff lacks as an NFL quarterback. Mora’s Bruins were 3-0 against the Bears during Goff’s three seasons at Cal.

“I never feared him college,” Mora said about his teams at UCLA facing Goff. “I recognized the talent, but we never feared him. We thought we could get to him a little bit. He a great player, a great kid and I love him. So, I don’t want to say anything negative, but I always felt he needed a little fire, just a little bit of that fiery attitude that everyone in that huddle feels -- that’s really genuine, the comes from the gut and comes from the heart.

“And I think with Matthew Stafford, you get a little bit more of that. I think that’s going to resonate not only for the offense, but through the entire team. I think it’s a match made in heaven.”

Mora, who grew up in Seattle and played football at the University of Washington, also believes Russell Wilson’s days could be numbered with the Seahawks. A report from The Athletic details a fractured relationship between the organization and Wilson that could lead to the Pro Bowl quarterback asking for a trade if his desires for offensive line upgrades and more influence on the offense cannot be met.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Wilson’s list of teams he would like to be traded to include the Chicago Bears, the New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders.

Mora served as the head coach of his hometown team in 2009, but finished 5-11 and was let go at the end of the year.

“With the media accounts that I read with Russ kind of being more vocal and stating his case a lot more strongly than he ever has in the past, it sounds to me like he’s really starting to close the door,” Mora said. “Which I think is terrifying is you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan, because that guy, he’s special. He’s a different talent. I mean, the things he’s able to do. The presence. The character and what he does in the community -- all those things are so profound.

“But what I’m hearing is that Russell wants to get himself into a market where he becomes even more marketable than he is now with him and Ciara. So, I think a lot of this is driven by Russell. I think the Seahawks are probably in panic mode. Pete (Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll) is as good with player communication as anybody around, and I’m sure Pete has had conversations (with Russell) and will have further conversations. Pete will be up front, and he’ll tell him what he means to the organization and what he’ll do for you.

“But where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And I would be surprised as we sit here today that Russell will be the Seattle Seahawks quarterback. And that’s sad to me. That was my team growing up, man. And I got a little stint there, I call it an internship as the head coach (laughs). But they’re still my guys. And I want to see Russell Wilson as the quarterback there. I love the guy.”