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Goff has a fan in new Rams quarterback coach Greg Olson

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  • Goff has a fan in new Rams quarterback coach Greg Olson

    Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson watches from the sideline before a game against the Dolphins in 2015. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

    (From the L.A. Times)

    By Gary Klein

    He has been entrusted with developing the cornerstone of the franchise, a player the Rams mortgaged their future to acquire.

    New quarterbacks coach Greg Olson said Friday that he was looking forward to working with second-year pro Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.

    “I’m really excited about the challenge with that,” Olson said during an introductory event for Coach Sean McVay’s new staff at the Rams’ training facility at Cal Lutheran, “but it certainly is a much easier challenge when you have talented player.”

    Olson — along with McVay and offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur — is part of a triumvirate charged with turning Goff into a productive player, if not a star.

    After trading six draft picks last April to select Goff first overall, the Rams finished 4-12 last season. They featured the NFL’s worst offense for the second season in a row under former coach Jeff Fisher and his staff.

    Goff was inactive for the opener and sat the bench for eight games behind journeyman Case Keenum. He started the final seven games but struggled mightily at times, passing for five touchdowns, with seven interceptions, and finishing without a victory.

    Now Goff will transition from a coaching staff that featured a quarterbacks coach with one year of NFL experience to a staff full of coaches with pedigrees developing NFL passers.

    Olson, 53, worked with Drew Brees at Purdue and in the NFL with Derek Carr of the Raiders and Blake Bortles of the Jaguars among others.

    LaFleur, 37, spent the last two seasons as quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons, where he worked with NFL most valuable player Matt Ryan in the league’s highest-scoring offense.

    And McVay, 31, tutored Kirk Cousins as offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins.

    “It’s very important for all of us to be on the same page,” McVay said when asked how the three will handle Goff, adding. “We’ll all be on the same rhythm as far as what we’re communicating to Jared, what the expectations are.”

    Olson will work directly with Goff.

    Olson, who has coached in the NFL for 15 seasons, said Goff has “unbelievable arm talent; he’s had that since high school — a very talented player with a ton of potential.” - Olson evaluated Goff when he played at California, and has spent the last few weeks watching his Goff’s performances last season.

    “Nothing that I have watched so far has deterred me from that evaluation,” Olson said.

    Goff took first-team snaps in rookie camp last spring but was otherwise relegated to back-up status throughout organized-team activities and training camp. He took first-team reps one day during the bye week but did not do so again until he was named the starter in Week 11.

    “It wasn’t a great situation,” Olson said, adding that Goff will go into his second season with a year of experience and a full complement of starter’s reps during the spring and summer.

    “There should be a huge jump from Year 1 to Year 2,” he said of Goff’s anticipated performance.

    Much of the progress, he said, would come from Goff’s ability to process and communicate play-calls in the huddle, something he — and many other college quarterbacks — are not required to do in spread systems in college.

    “A lot of things he was doing at Cal, he did it at the line of scrimmage with one-word codes,” Olson said. “There’s a little bit more to that in the NFL.”

    McVay met with Goff last month during the interview process before he was hired. Olson has spoken by phone with Goff. LaFleur, who was hired this week, is due to arrive in Southern California next week.

    Coaches cannot meet with players until off-season workouts officially begin in April.

    The Rams’ offense is expected to include “West Coast” concepts and elements that were featured in attacks used by McVay with the Washington Redskins and by Kyle Shanahan with the Falcons.

    This will be the third offensive system in three years for Goff.

    “It’s going to be real critical that he has a chance to learn the system and get comfortable within that system,” Olson said. “And the more comfortable he gets with it, then certainly the more confidence he’ll be able to play with.

    “And then you’ll be able to reach that potential.”

    The offensive line also must improve for Goff to progress.

    Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer said he was evaluating tape of players and was encouraged by their youth and individual skills. He said he would not be able to form opinions about left tackle Greg Robinson and others until he has the opportunity to work with them on the field.

    “We’re looking for football intelligence, we’re looking for guys that want to compete and guys that communicate,” he said. “We want someone we can sit down with and have a football conversation with, so we can interact and help each other become better.

    “And if we can get that, then you have a good offensive line.”

    The Rams ranked ninth in the NFL in defense last season. Now the unit is under the direction of 40-year NFL veteran Wade Phillips, most recently the architect of the Denver Broncos’ powerful defenses.

    Phillips said he favored a 3-4 scheme because “you have three linemen and somebody else is coming from somewhere” in what is most of the time a four-man rush.

    “It gives an advantage of not knowing, protection-wise,” Phillips said of the opposition.

    Defensive line coach Bill Johnson takes over a unit that includes three-time Pro Bowl tackle Aaron Donald and two-time Pro Bowl end Robert Quinn among others.

    “You can tell they’re the nucleus of this football team right now,” Johnson said of the line. “They’re very productive.

    “The one thing I’ve really been encouraged about and excited about is they’re such a fine mesh unit. They get along with each other. They’re friends, they’re buddies. They’re more than just teammates. It’s a great situation.”

Related Topics


  • MauiRam
    Rams QB coach likes Goff's growth, but 'he's far from a finished product'
    by MauiRam
    Aug 24, 2017
    Alden Gonzalez
    ESPN Staff Writer

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- There was never really one specific thing that Jared Goff needed to improve on as he entered 2017. He was -- and still is -- only 22 years old, a second-year quarterback in his first year under a new system, coming off a rookie season that was substandard by every measure. Greg Olson, the Los Angeles Rams' new quarterbacks coach, couldn't specify.

    "We felt, as a staff, when we put all our eyes on him, that there were a number of things that he could get better at," Olson said. "From footwork to progressions to timing in the passing game, there were a lot of things there that we felt like he needed to work on."

    The list remains daunting, even in the midst of his most encouraging performance to date.

    Goff went 16-of-20 for 160 yards while playing almost the entire first half against the Oakland Raiders on Saturday night. He led the Rams to two touchdowns and a field goal in four drives, the first of which ended with a 23-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Cooper Kupp. It was the type of stretch that made one believe that the former No. 1 overall pick may actually thrive one day; that this offense, rebuilt over the last five months, may finally be good again.

    Goff acknowledged the confidence boost a night like that can trigger, "But it wasn't like it was shocking," he added. "It's something that we expected to do."

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    Olson's excitement was tempered.

    "Believe me," Olson said of Goff, "he's far from a finished product. He would tell you that. And we know that; we understand that. But we're happy with the growth so far and the way he's approached the process here of getting better. There's a lot of positive things here that have come out, and he's just gotta continue that constant, daily improvement."

    Olson was the Rams' offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2007, when the team operated out of St. Louis. He worked with an in-his-prime Marc Bulger then, one of numerous quarterbacks who have been under his tutelage. Prior to rejoining the Rams, Olson spent 15 years as either a quarterbacks coach or an offensive coordinator -- sometimes both -- with seven different organizations. He instructed veterans like Jeff Garcia, Kordell Stewart and Brian Griese, young players like Rex Grossman, Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles.

    In Goff, Olson sees someone who "wants to get better" and "wants to realize his potential." He sees someone who has "tried to wipe the slate clean from his rookie season," but also "took it as a learning experience." He sees someone with a "good attitude" and a "strong work ethic." And he sees someone who...
    -08-25-2017, 09:40 AM
  • Nick
    Bonsignore: ‘Project Goff’ is underway at Rams headquarters
    by Nick
    Bonsignore: ‘Project Goff’ is underway at Rams headquarters
    By VINCENT BONSIGNORE | [email protected] | Daily News
    PUBLISHED: April 23, 2017 at 8:00 am | UPDATED: April 23, 2017 at 8:47 am

    From the inner sanctum of his Fired Football Coaches Association office some 2,500 miles from Los Angeles, Jon Gruden scoured the key piece of evidence in the case of Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff.

    The game tape, football coaches maintain, always tells the truth.

    And in Goff’s case, the images flickering from the big screen inside Gruden’s Tampa, Fla., based football think tank provided key clues to explain how Goff’s first NFL season deteriorated into a nightmare.

    “That’s an offensive line that has struggled,” Gruden testified recently. “That’s a receiving corps that has struggled.”

    Gruden could have added a flawed coaching staff short on both imagination and a proven track record of quarterback development, one that failed even the basic principals of providing support for a rookie quarterback. Like establishing a sound running game Goff could lean on – in spite of having reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley on the roster – or functional game plans, or a culture of discipline in which frustrating, drive-sabotaging penalties would finally be eradicated.

    And while factually true, it would have been speculative considering the evidence at hand.

    “I do think he went into a difficult situation,” Gruden summed up, politely.

    The result being a rugged rookie season that left fans and pundits wondering if the Rams severely over-reached by relinquishing six draft picks to move to the top of last year’s draft to select the former Cal star.

    But from Gruden’s vantage point, most of the dynamics involved were out of Goff’s control.

    The Rams, it appears, agree.

    And it has prompted them to devote almost every bit of energy and focus this offseason on improving the infrastructure around Goff and maximizing his chances of succeeding.

    Their Thousand Oaks headquarters is now the home of Project Goff, with almost every decision they make – including the direction they take in this week’s draft – motivated by creating an environment that helps expedite the development and efficiency of a position around which their world revolves.

    That includes building a coaching staff deeply rooted in quarterback development. And adding left tackle Andrew Whitworth, not only to help protect Goff but also to free up tight ends to be more active in the passing game and elevate Todd Gurley in the running game. And signing former USC wide receiver Robert Woods, a precise, dependable route-runner with sure hands who Goff can trust as a go-to target.

    All of it is designed to create a better environment in which Goff can excel.

    “Everything that we do starts with the quarterback in...
    -04-23-2017, 09:29 AM
  • Nick
    Bonsignore: Here’s why Year 2 should look much better for Rams quarterback Jared Goff
    by Nick
    Bonsignore: Here’s why Year 2 should look much better for Rams quarterback Jared Goff
    By VINCENT BONSIGNORE | [email protected] | Daily News
    May 25, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    As observations go, it probably falls more into the can’t-be-seen-without-a-microscope category. But the most astute scientists will tell you items unable to be detected by the human eye are sometimes the most critical, so the relatively casual critique Robert Woods made about Jared Goff might foretell something more significant.

    Woods, the Rams’ free agent wide receiver pickup, and Goff, the second-year quarterback on whom so much of their future success depends, have been consistent workout partners almost since the moment Woods signed last March. Woods might be only 25, but the four NFL seasons he has accrued involved five starting quarterbacks. And that’s four too many, given the timing, chemistry and comfort level required for quarterbacks and wide receivers to prosper together.

    The former USC star would like nothing better than to develop a long, monogamous working relationship with Goff over the next few years, although that is largely dependent on Goff fulfilling the promise and potential the Rams envisioned upon drafting him first overall in 2016.

    And as the early stage of their partnership evolves, Woods is on the lookout for evidence to support that conclusion.

    A small sample of which was recently presented

    A week ago, playing against a certain defensive look in practice, Goff misfired on a throw to Woods. The two hashed it out in conversation and conferred about it in the classroom. And when faced with the same defensive package against the same play this week during a Rams’ Organized Team Activity practice, the result was decidedly different.

    “This time he threw a perfect pass,” said Woods, who seemed hardly surprised by the manner in which Goff made the adjustment or the pristine throw he delivered.

    These are traits Woods has already recognized in Goff during their short time together.

    “Work ethic, arm and accuracy,” Woods said, describing Goff. “You see him coming out here, always working, first to answer the question in the meeting rooms. He’s always listening. Always asking questions.”

    That isn’t to suggest Goff will make the leap from the struggling rookie we saw in 2016 to All-Pro in 2017. Or that long-term success is guaranteed for the former Cal star. But given the natural progression from Year 1 to Year 2, the rebuilt infrastructure and support system the Rams have supplied Goff with this offseason and the more certain and confident demeanor he has presented so far during OTAs, there’s compelling reason to believe the 22-year-old will take a positive step forward this year.

    “I think he’s done a nice job just getting better every single day,” said Sean McVay, the young coach with whom the Rams have entrusted...
    -05-25-2017, 04:19 PM
  • Nick
    How good, or bad, will Jared Goff be in Year 2? It's anybody's guess
    by Nick
    How good, or bad, will Jared Goff be in Year 2? It's anybody's guess
    2:09 PM ET
    Alden Gonzalez
    ESPN Staff Writer

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano witnessed the proverbial "Year 2 Leap" firsthand with Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. The game started to slow down; third-down blitz packages and safety rotations became easier to pick up.

    By the end of it, Luck had cut his interceptions in half over the course of his second NFL season, his quarterback rating jumping from 76.5 to 87.0 from 2012 to 2013.

    And that brings us to Jared Goff, a downright mystery in the build-up to the 2017 regular season.

    Goff should be better as a second-year player, but by how much?

    The Los Angeles Rams knew he needed work when they made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, but they probably didn't anticipate him needing that much. Goff wasn't named the starter until Week 11, then lost all seven of his starts and finished with a Total QBR of 22.2, the lowest among quarterbacks who played in at least five games.

    But that was under dire circumstances. His offensive line was bad, his running game nonexistent, his receivers inferior and his coaching staff generally lacking in experience with his position. Now Goff is in a system that has proven to get the most out of quarterbacks, while operating behind an improved offensive line and throwing to a deeper, more talented group of receivers. And it's hard to really know what to expect.

    Asked in what ways he believes he is better since the end of his rookie season, Goff said: "I think just understanding the intent of stuff that we do and understanding what the defense is trying to do and what the intent of their calls are, and different ways to attack it. With that, the game just begins to slow down a little bit. I think that's what you ultimately feel. I felt it from Year 1 to Year 2. At every level you're at, you get that slowdown effect a little bit from those two years. And I think it continues to slow down as time goes on."

    The Rams have done their best not to put too much pressure on Goff, at least publicly. First-year head coach Sean McVay, who worked wonders with Kirk Cousins in Washington, has talked mostly about the need for Goff to limit turnovers and distribute the ball in an effort to open holes for his star running back, Todd Gurley, who didn't see many holes last season.

    The expectations remain basic.

    "We expect him to make good decisions, throw with accuracy and rhythm," McVay said. "If he does that, then I think he'll give himself a chance to play good football for us."

    Goff is at a point in his career where he will frequently flash his potential and also make critical mistakes, reminding you that he is still only 22 years old. He threw six interceptions during a three-day...
    -09-07-2017, 01:31 PM
  • RockinRam
    Jared Goff says Rams can run Redskins' deep passing offense under Sean McVay
    by RockinRam
    Eric Edholm
    Shutdown CornerJan 21, 2017, 12:55 PM

    Jared Goff has had time to rest up from a trying first season, let his body heal, spend a little time in Mexico with his friends … but now he’s ready to go back to work. He has a new head coach, a new offensive system and new perspective heading into his first full offseason of work in the NFL.

    The Los Angeles Rams quarterback spent much of last season waiting his turn (for much of it as the team’s third quarterback) before starting the final seven games of the season and still seeking his first victory in the league. He’ll be doing it under his third head coach following the firing of Jeff Fisher, and with interim coach John Fassel being replaced by 30-year-old, first-time head coach Sean McVay.

    Goff is now back in Los Angeles (more on that below), and he’s excited to get working with McVay on a new direction offensively.

    “He’s ready, ready to get this thing turned around, as am I,” Goff told Shutdown Corner Friday night. “We’ve talked now a few times since he’s been hired, and it’s a great start.”

    Goff met with McVay before and after the new coach was hired, and he was the only coach Goff met with during the Rams’ interview process — which might say a lot about how impressive McVay with the team’s brass.

    “I thought after that first meeting, if he gets the job I am completely on board,” Goff said. “I was very, very pleased. Now the hard work begins.”

    Goff believes the Rams’ offense can have the same type of feel as the system McVay ran with the Washington Redskins.

    “I think we’re going to do a lot of what they did last year: a lot of downfield passing stuff,” Goff said of the Redskins’ offense, which ranked second in the NFL in yards per pass play and passing yards per game. “I think that’s obviously transferable here.”

    Goff had no idea at the time, but starting early last season he would be watching tape of opposing defenses, and he said it seemed that every other week he was getting a look at what the Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins did offensively.

    “I kept saying, either to myself or to the other quarterbacks in the room, ‘Hey, man, I really like this. I like what they do.’ I had no idea [McVay] would be bringing that here at the time,” Goff said. “Great concepts, lots of variety, great execution. It’s all there.

    “Now I get to run that. You could see Kirk making tough throws, but they were scheming stuff up to get guys open. That’s one thing I noticed, a lot of guys running free, which is obviously appealing to me.”

    As far as McVay’s age, Goff says he is not worried at all. The Rams were the youngest team in the NFL last season and likely will be one of the youngest again this season.

    “If there’s a team it’s not going to be a problem with, it’s us,” he said. “But I don’t think it would be a problem regardless,...
    -01-23-2017, 08:42 AM