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Defense Faces Challenge In New And Improved Jared Goff


Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has been busy this offseason developing second-year quarterback Jared Goff into a legitimate starter.

During 2015, all anyone could talk about was Cal quarterback Jared Goff's magic arm.

In his three seasons with the Bears, he threw for 12,195 and 96 touchdowns. The Los Angeles Rams, still unpacking form their move from St. Louis, traded up to No. 1 and selected Goff over North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. He was to be the quarterback of the future, but his debut quickly turned sour.

Now entering his second NFL season, Goff has seen plenty of challenges. In 2016, he failed to win a single game as a starter and the Rams finished the year 4-12. In his seven losses, Goff threw for 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions. Goff, however, said his first season was just minor growing pains.

"I think it can be a bit overblown," Goff said. "You see what Marcus Mariota has done coming from Oregon, and even Derek Carr played somewhat of a spread at Fresno State. I would love to fall in those footsteps with my career. But you see it all the time nowadays, guys making that transition. It's been getting better and better."

After a week of being the Rams' 2017 full-time starter, Goff seems to have turned the corner in his career. Against the Indianapolis Colts, he went 21-of-29 for 306 yards in a touchdown during Los Angeles' 46-9 blowout win.

Granted, Goff was not facing an elite defense and many of his receivers were wide open on deep routes. However, Goff looked poised in the pocket and knew where the smart throws were when given time to go through his progressions.

While the jury is still out on Goff's improvement, many in the Redskins' locker room said the young quarterback's improvement has only been aided by the Rams hiring former Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay as head coach. McVay spent three years developing Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins into the starter he is today.

"Well, I think Sean has experience working with another young quarterback in myself," Cousins said. "He knows what it's like to try to teach his system to somebody who's new to the league and new to starting, so this is not the first time around for Sean along those lines and Jared has all the talent in the world, you know with the arm talent and that certainly gives them a great chance then, because that doesn't limit what Sean can do from a play calling standpoint when Jared has that ability to throw it all over the field."

Redskins defensive players took note of Goff's development. Safety D.J. Swearinger said it will be up to the defense to try and confuse Goff with plenty of different looks. If they can get him flustered, he said, then the turnovers will come.

"He did some great stuff and I'm looking forward to playing him on Sunday," Swearinger said. "We've got to disguise and get pressure on him, make him uncomfortable and he'll throw us the ball."

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