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Sean McVay had this to say about his former QB ahead of Rams-Lions playoff matchup

The Rams head coach says he’s appreciative of QB Jared Goff, but is not focused on the “fun narratives”

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

In the offseason of the 2020 season, the Los Angeles Rams made a trade that changed the history of the franchise forever when they moved QB Jared Goff and a plethora of picks to the Detroit Lions for QB Matthew Stafford. Stafford was viewed as a quarterback to get the Rams over the hump for their Super Bowl winning asperations, and after winning the championship in Stafford’s first year with LA, in some respects they were right. Unfortunately in the same vein, it came off as a slight to Jared Goff, who got the Rams to a Super Bowl berth in the 2018-19 season, but struggled in the big game and through out most of 2020.

Fast forward to 2023, the Rams and head coach Sean McVay will now head to Detroit to take on Goff and the Lions, who will host their first home playoff game since 1994. Ahead of the matchup, McVay spoke to the media on Monday about his former QB, and his feelings about playing against Goff in the first round of the Wild Card round.

“I have more appreciation for him as time goes on,” McVay said. “He’s nothing but a class act, and man, did he do a lot of really good things here for us, and he’s done great stuff for them. There’s a reason why they’re in this position. They’ve been an excellent offense and he’s done a great job orchestrating it.”

The Rams signed Goff to a $110-million extension before the 2019 season that locked him up with LA through the 2024 season, making it seem like he was the future of the team. However, after a tumultuous 2020 season plagued with turnovers, McVay and Los Angeles opted to find a way to get out of some of his contract, while at the same time, acquiring his replacement. Goff has said in the past that he was upset about the trade and didn’t see it coming.

“It was definitely a hard time because I wasn’t aware that it could be a possibility and something (the front office) was thinking about.” Goff said ”I wish there would’ve been some conversations that weren’t had. It was confusing and difficult on and off the field.”

McVay has since admitted that he handled the trade situation very poorly, wishing he would have communicated better with his former quarterback.

“That was a hard thing for me because the thing that’s more important than anything is being a good communicator — clear, open, and honest. Making sure people aren’t caught off guard and really having respect for the players and the coaches for what they have to do. And I wish that there had been better in-person communication,” McVay said. “The one thing that hurt me is that I would never want anything to be misunderstood about my appreciation, my respect for Jared. Was it a tough decision? Yes. Were there some things that I could’ve handled better in terms of the clarity provided for him? No doubt.

As time has passed though, it seems on some level at least, fences have been mended. After the Rams Super Bowl victory, McVay said Goff was one of the first people to text him congratulations. McVay has also had nothing but positive things to say about the Lions quarterback since his departure, adding to his compliments about Goff on Monday, saying:

“I think those are fun narratives, but there’s nothing but appreciation and gratitude from me,” McVay said. “You guys know there’s different things that occurred, but there’s nothing but good vibes on my end.”

Speaking of the “fun narratives” mentioned by McVay, not to be forgotten in all of this is Rams QB Matthew Stafford as well. The veteran quarterback will be heading back to Detroit for the first time since being traded. He was drafted first overall by the Lions in 2009 and played 12 seasons with them.

Stafford is mostly beloved in the Motor City, however, as he comes to potentially ruin the Lions long-time home playoff drought, one has to wonder what his reception will be. Kelly Stafford, wife of the Los Angeles quarterback, was already seen commenting on a post floating around on social media, calling for Stafford’s Lions jerseys to be banned at the playoff game. Stafford holds most of the major Lions franchise passing records, including most attempts, completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns.

This will be one of the most exciting games of the Wild Card round, with so many different storylines, it makes sense that this game is slated to be the Sunday night headliner. Will Goff get revenge on his former team and get the Lions their first home playoff victory in 30 years, or will Stafford crush his former fans excitement and get a big win for his first homecoming in Detroit?