The Rams just lost their defensive coordinator to the Chargers, and more big changes could be on the way. Los Angeles just wrapped up what was by all accounts a successful season, winning a playoff game and advancing to the divisional round after failing to make the postseason the year before. But if they want to make it back to their old heights of the 2018 Super Bowl run, they’ll need much better production in the passing game.
Sean McVay seems to understand that, and he’s now raised plenty of eyebrows in his last two press conferences by declining to commit to Jared Goff. In his post-game press conference immediately after the Rams’ loss to the Packers, McVay was asked whether Goff is his quarterback and he replied “yeah, he’s the quarterback right now.” As we’ve often seen, “right now” can be something of a kiss of death in coach-speak.
In his end of year media availability on Sunday, McVay muddied the waters even further. “I’m evaluating everything we do, and that includes the QB position,” McVay said, adding “I’m not ready to make any sort of statements with regards to ANY starting position,” per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Los Angeles had the league’s top total defense this season, the weapons are good enough, the offensive line is solid, and the coaching is by all accounts great. As such, it’s fair to assume that the only way to increase their ceiling is for Goff to improve, because it’ll be hard for the defense to play any better in 2021. The former first overall pick regressed this season, ranking toward the top of the league in interceptions despite being toward the bottom in average depth of target.
It sounds like McVay is far from happy with his current depth chart, but his options are limited. Goff is under contract through the 2024 season thanks to the big extension he signed in September of 2019 that is only really starting to kick in now. There’s no realistic way to cut him before next season with the dead cap implications.
No team is likely to take on his contract in a trade, which would seem to indicate the only way for McVay to replace him would be to add some competition to the roster. It would be really hard to fit another big contract next to Goff’s, which would mean that competition would likely need to come in the form of a cheaper veteran or a player on a rookie deal.
It’s going to be a very interesting offseason in Los Angeles. Perhaps GM Les Snead, noted for his aggressiveness in recent years, has one more trick up his sleeve.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.