Less than two years after the Los Angeles Rams signed Jared Goff to a four-year, 134 million contract extension in June 2019, they moved on from him in a blockbuster trade with the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford earlier this month.
Talking for the first time publicly since the trade, McVay said he could not comment specifically on the transaction or how Stafford will fit into his offense until the deal becomes official in the new league year on March 17.
McVay did say he has talked with Goff since the trade but could not pinpoint to reporters during a zoom conference call on Thursday when the marriage between the innovative play caller and 26-year-old franchise quarterback went sour just 20 months after the Rams head coach said he hoped Goff would be stuck with him for a long time.
“There’s just so many things that have taken place since then,” McVay said. “What I would say that I have learned over the last handful of years is things change by day, and you probably want to be careful making blanket statements when you can’t predict the future.”
Asked about Goff’s comments to the NFL Network that it became increasingly clear the Cal product was not wanted by the Rams, but he couldn’t put a finger on when it happened, McVay had this to say:
“Jared and I had a lot of conversations, and we had one that I want to keep that between myself and Jared,” McVay said. “Again, I don’t want to get into the specifics of those types of things. But when you look back on the four years that we did have together, there’s a lot of times we can smile on. And I would say there’s a lot things that when I self-reflect, I certainly wish I was better for him in some instances.
“And those are things that I think you have to acknowledge, move forward and make sure that you learn from every mistake that you make. And 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.”
Asked specifically how his assessment of Goff had changed, along with other factors that changed around him since signing the lucrative, long-term extension two years ago, McVay took the high road, referencing that he and Goff had communicated openly and honestly in a conversation after the trade.
“What I think is important to make sure I at least want to mention is the amount of good things and really great leadership he provided since I got here as a head coach,” McVay said. “There’s been a Super Bowl appearance. There’s been a conference championship. 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 I think he did a great job of, establishing himself in the league. The way he handled himself day in, day out. All I can is do just be appreciative of that.”
McVay would not talk specifically about how Stafford will change his offense. He acknowledged the need for more explosive playmakers and also getting his team to peak at the right time as the Rams try to host and win a Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers accomplished in their home stadium last season.
“I think the unfair narrative has been that some of our decrease in production is exclusively on the quarterback,” McVay said. “That’s not true at all. I think certainly I have a big hand in that. I have to be able to look myself in the mirror and acknowledge, be able to evolve, improve and take ownership in that.
“I do know that the head coach and the quarterback are sometimes always -- sometimes you get too much credit or too much blame. But I’m not going to run away from the blame that’s deserved on my end.”
McVay also confirmed that he and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer mutually parted ways and that the Rams blocked the Los Angeles Chargers from interviewing Kevin O’Connell for head coach Brandon Staley’s offensive coordinator position, even though it potentially involved added responsibility in calling plays.
“That is accurate,” McVay said. “Kevin’s a great coach. He’s our offensive coordinator. He has a huge says and a huge influence on how we want to operate, and I think even more so moving forward.”