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LA Rams Legends Give Thoughts On QB Jared Goff and Offensive Line

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The LA Rams brought in over 50 former Rams players last week, and when they were interviewed, they didn't hold back on the current state of the team...

St. Louis Rams v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Rams brought in some of the greatest players in team history last week as part of their “Legends” event, it was intended to be a fun-filled event and a way to show respect and let the former players know they're welcomed any time.

By all accounts, that was achieved.

But it was the nuggets dropped by the former Rams — some are either in the NFL Hall of Fame or likely going to be inducted soon enough — that was the most intriguing part of the day. These are greats and when they speak, you listen. And they had a lot to say in their media sessions.

(Sidenote: I would strongly suggest going over to the team site and watching all the videos. Some good stuff from press conferences to one on one with Dani!)

The Offensive Line

The Rams legends had some interesting things to say about the offensive line, but maybe more importantly, the coaching of the games most important unit.

Former Rams OL Dennis Harrah was very excited to talk with how impressive Rams HC Sean McVay came off when talking offensive line.

Just listen to him talk, and listen to the offensive line coach (Aaron Kromer) talk about him and how he knows the offensive line play so well. And then he goes ‘You don’t want to make a mistake because he’ll catch it.’ Most head coaches are not that in-tuned with the offensive line. You know, it just gives me chills.

The excitement was genuine. Harrah, came away impressed with the knowledge of McVay, but not just his general football IQ but his attention to detail with the offensive line, and hearing a position coach essentially bragging, but also scared to make a mistake.

Another former Rams lineman had an even more interesting take on the offensive line. Tom Mack really dug into the way the offensive line is being taught, and even went as far as to compare last years staff to this years staff:

I was here last year for a week, and to come back this year and to hear the offensive line coach in particular really trying to instruct the young kids, and you gotta remember this is a young team, on technique is the biggest change I have seen. And that may sound like a silly little thing, but a year ago, the kids’ focus were being taught what their assignment was not how to do their assignment. Their biggest failing they had a year ago, in particular if you’re to think about pass blocking, was most guys couldn’t execute.

Well damn! That is a pretty heavy statement. And it is really telling. You know how they say old folks are full of wisdom, due to past experiences in life that younger folks have yet to face themselves? Well this is a prime example of that old saying.

The raw honesty was a beautiful thing. But it was also startling to hear someone who truly knows what he is talking about, say that the players were not taught how to execute.

Mack also said:

The key is to get people thinking so that they can execute their athletic ability without necessarily thinking. And the way you do that is repetitive training.

So basically, the former staff was teaching players responsibility but not how to handle their responsibility. That’s like telling your eight-year old son, it’s time to start taking out the trash and making sure the trash cans are on the side walk the day the dump truck comes to pick up the trash. But then you never tell him what day or time the truck comes. You pound it into his head that it’s his job to get this task done, but he has no clue how to succeed, because you never taught him that part.

The legends didn’t stop there. Former Rams OT and Hall-of-Famer Jackie Slater also chimed in on the offensive line, and it’s coaching. He mentioned he sat in on the offensive line meeting, and that he thought Aaron Kromer was a “really smart” coach. And like those before, he started talking about Kromers attention to technique. But he also talked about the attention to detail that McVay showed when reviewing plays with the team.

I marveled at his brilliance, because he was covering just about every aspect of a certain play. He went over two or three plays. I mean he covered it from the offensive line, to the tight end, to the wide receivers, to the quarterback, he covered it in detail. I was just so impressed with that. And when we went into the offensive line room, I said to those guys in there, I said “Guys, I just got done listening to a very brilliant mind talk about football. And it’s very important, everything he said. But remember this, none of that works if the men in this room, don’t do their jobs.” I wanted to share that with them.

Talk about heavy praise. Coach McVay seems to be making a helluva impression on pretty much anyone he crosses paths with. The praise heaped from Slater is impressive, but maybe more impressive is the attention to detail that is mentioned, something that many thought the previous staff didn’t show enough of.


Quarterbacks

There has been legitimate talk about the Rams not being too glued to QB Jared Goff to the point that they won’t bench him. To the contrary, the rumbling as of late has been that the coaching staff is really starting to like backup QB Sean Mannion.

Rumor has it, Mannion has looked really good. Coaches, teammates, and reporters have all commented on his improve play this year in OTAs and there has been consistent rumblings out of the LA, that the coaching staff is willing to start Mannion over Goff this year. Sean McVay himself, heaped high praise towards Mannion, but finished off saying that (emphasis mine) “Jared is our starting quarterback right now.” That phrase stands out like a sore thumb and shouldn’t be overlooked. When you consider this is a new staff and Goff is not McVay’s hand-picked guy, there is probably less of an attachment to him.

Former Rams WR and Greatest Show On Turf legend Torry Holt touched on the quarterbacks as well:

I thought Jared Goff looked really well throwing the football. I mean obviously there’s still some timing and quickening up things. That comes along with playing and getting experience. I was really impressed with Sean Mannion and how he was throwing the football around. I thought he looked a lot better than when I saw him when he was out in St. Louis.

What’s interesting about this is that it’s actually the first real criticism of Goff this offseason. You’re never looking for someone to be criticized, but coachspeak has to always be taken with a grain of salt. What’s been interesting about Goff, is it has not all been coach speak. Teammates, and reporters, have all come away with the same opinions that he looks much more comfortable and confident, and that he is working longer hours and days than everyone else and taking on a leadership role.

While that theme has been common, it’s all off-field stuff. None of it speaks to the on-field performance thus far through the off-season. Holt's assessment is actually the first concrete breakdown of how Goff has looked at any given practice.

It’s still early, and there are surely still timing issues that are being worked on, but it has to be a little alarming that Holt mentions that he still needs to get the ball out quicker. This was a major issue for him in his rookie season which resulted in a massively increased sack total over the final seven games.

While it’s probably safe to say that Goff is making sure he does his part in putting in the time to get better. It’s probably also safe to say that Mannion is legitimately putting heat on him, and he still has some ways to go before he really takes that next step. But the good news is, he’s putting in the work off the field.