Sean McVay hints ex-QB Jared Goff can’t read defenses
After Sean McVay and Jared Goff reached the Super Bowl, their relationship soured pretty quickly. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

You can bet head coach Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams are thrilled to land a massive upgrade at quarterback in Matthew Stafford for the 2021 season and beyond.

McVay confirmed this notion in a recent interview on The Rich Eisen Show, which was as much about what the wunderkind coach said as what he didn’t say about departed Detroit Lions signal-caller Jared Goff.

While McVay acknowledged during the discussion that Goff showed grit by coming back from surgery on his right thumb to win a playoff game this past postseason, he also gushed about his new QB and implied that Stafford can do fundamental things at a high level that Goff, frankly, can’t.

“You’re able to execute your play-actions, your movements, and those things, but when you get into third down and those known passing [situations]…the two-minute drills at the end of the half, end of the game…The way that [Stafford]’s able to move and manipulate the pocket…to recognize and understand coverage and make all five eligibles come alive, the way that he can create off-schedule in the pocket, out of the pocket, and just the overall competitiveness and command.

“Those are the things that I think he brings to the table. […] When you’re asked to get through progressions, recognize reads, solve problems protection-wise, you’re seeing him do a lot of those things.”

McVay owned up to his role in the deterioration of his relationship with Goff, namely chalking it up to a communication breakdown.

I mean, if I were McVay, drawing up genius plays and making the game so simple for Goff to the point where I’m literally reading the defense for him pre-snap, and he still couldn’t execute and kept turning the ball over, squandering a great running game and the NFL’s No. 1 defense in the process, I think I’d be pretty unwilling to communicate, too.

That was a long but necessary sentence.

Goff was just downright horrible over the past two seasons. Whenever a hint of pressure crept into the pocket, the former No. 1 overall pick froze. Now, he’s expected to elevate a mess of an organization in Detroit that’s in the midst of probably the biggest rebuild in the NFL right now with a new regime.

While it helps that longtime Rams front office member Brad Holmes is the Lions’ new general manager, you can bet Goff doesn’t have a very long leash. Maybe a crack at the starting gig this coming season. Beyond that, who knows?

How much better can McVay’s offense be with Matthew Stafford?

It’s almost impossible to answer this pressing question without being viewed as feloniously hyperbolic. Hard not to revel in the fact that we also happened to predict a Goff trade in late December before it was fashionable.

Stafford is more accurate, especially on downfield throws, than Goff. According to McVay’s own evaluation, Stafford actually understands how to change protections, audible out of trouble, make full-field reads, identify coverages even when they’re well-disguised, and to boot, the longtime Lions gunslinger has an absolute rocket for a right arm and superior athleticism.

Another noteworthy anecdote McVay confirmed in his discussion with Eisen: Stafford had all of 11 single-game 100-yard rushers during his dozen or so seasons in Detroit. Counting the playoffs, McVay and the Rams have had the same number since 2018 — and that’s with a predominantly committee-based approach the past two years!

Despite that horrid offensive imbalance, Stafford still had 38 game-winning drives and 31 fourth-quarter comebacks for the Lions.

Stafford is a trendy MVP pick for a reason. It wouldn’t be a horrible idea to take a flier on him, as opposed to the obvious favorites in Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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