Just before the start of last season, the Rams signed quarterback Jared Goff to a four-year, $134 million contract. Then, 2019 happened.
The buzz of a Super Bowl run the year before quickly subsided, the Rams backslid to 9-7, and Goff’s own play wasn’t to the level they expected when they gave him all that money.
But Goff told Mike Silver of NFL Network the experience strengthened him.
“There were a lot of things that I’ve learned from last season that I know I’m better from,” Goff said. “And sometimes you need, you know, a punch in the face, a kick in the face, like, ‘Oh man, — I can be better than that.’ [But] we didn’t have a catastrophe of a year, and that’s what it seems to be thought of often when you’re coming off a really good year.
“Every year, there seem to be different storylines and different narratives that people want to perpetuate. The Niners had a great year, and so did the Seahawks, and the Cardinals are ascending — they are a better team than they were last year, at least on paper. Those teams deserve that. It’s a tough division. But at the same time, we’ve gotten better, and I’ve gotten better. And it’s gonna be a fun year.”
The Rams would prefer to see the version that made them want to invest, but his less-than-sharp Super Bowl performance against the Patriots was followed by uneven play in 2019. Now, he’s pressing forward on a re-tooled team, which lost Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks, along with Dante Fowler and Cory Littleton on defense, which puts more pressure on the quarterback to improve.
His teammates see a difference in his approach this offseason.
“There’s a new edge to him,” veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “He’s got more fight in him, to me. He’s always been an exceptional young man with talent. But he’s becoming more a young man willing to realize it’s all on him to lead and get his team moving forward — to put it on himself to make it happen, rather than waiting for it to happen to him. He’s embraced that.”
The extent to which he rises to that challenge will largely determine the amount of improvement the Rams can make this year, and Goff won’t need another punch in the face to realize it.
Jared Goff on 2019: “Sometimes you need . . . a punch in the face” originally appeared on Pro Football Talk