THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Jared Goff didn't get offended last weekend when Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay called out the quarterback over his recent spate of turnovers.
In fact, the quarterback had to admit his coach had a point.
“If he was lying, I’d feel differently about it," Goff said Wednesday. "He’s absolutely right. I’m a big boy. I can handle it.”
Goff has 10 turnovers in his last four games for the Rams (7-4), who slipped out of first place in the NFC West last weekend with a 23-20 home loss to San Francisco in which Goff threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. One of his interceptions was returned 27 yards for a touchdown by rookie Javon Kinlaw.
McVay almost always avoids any public criticism of any Rams employee except himself, but he voiced his frustration with Goff's carelessness Sunday: “Our quarterback has got to take better care of the football.”
McVay said he went against his normal public policy because he thought Goff would handle the challenge correctly by striving to be better. Judging by Goff's response Wednesday, the quarterback is taking it the right way.
“We have a great relationship, and I’m accountable for myself,” Goff said about McVay. “I need to be better than that. I need to take care of the football, and he’s absolutely right, and I will. I have done that for majority of my entire football career, and will continue to take care of the football better.”
Goff hasn't been taking care of the ball lately, however: His 14 turnovers this season are tied with Minnesota's Kirk Cousins for second-most in the NFL, behind only 18 by Philadelphia's Carson Wentz.
Goff is eighth in the league with 3,021 yards passing, but many of his numbers are somewhere in the middle of the NFL pack, including his 16 touchdown passes (tied for 17th), his 67.2% completion rate (16th) and his 97.3 passer rating (23rd).
Goff also is in a mini-slump as the Rams begin the five-game push toward the playoffs with a visit to the Arizona Cardinals (6-5) on Sunday for an important divisional showdown. In Los Angeles' last four games, the fifth-year quarterback has thrown four touchdown passes and six interceptions while losing four fumbles, getting sacked seven times and posting a 79.7 passer rating.
Goff went 19 of 31 for 198 yards against the Niners, matching his least productive passing game of the season by yardage.
“You try to limit them and move on, but for the 24 hours after it, I was not in a happy place, for sure,” Goff said of his mood on Monday. "Really, really disappointed in myself, but you move on. We’ve got a big game this week. You move on, you play well, and then you just keep moving on. That’s all you can do and stay confident, and it’s just part of the game.”
McVay said he never considered benching Goff during his rough stretches against the 49ers — no surprise considering Goff's backups, John Wolford and Bryce Perkins, have never taken an NFL snap.
The Rams and Goff are tied together for the next four seasons in his $134 million contract extension, so McVay and his franchise quarterback are determined to get it right again, starting in Glendale. Goff had a similar midseason slump last year, but broke out of it in the final five games — starting with a 424-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 13 at Arizona.
“One of the things that you do really appreciate about him is he steady, he’s neutral,” McVay said about Goff. “He’s coming back ready to go, and that’s what you want. You don’t want somebody that’s going to ride the emotional roller coaster. I think there’s too many ebbs and flows, especially at that quarterback position. I am looking forward to seeing him bounce back.”
NOTES: LB Ogbo Okoronkwo is likely to play Sunday for the first time since undergoing elbow surgery, McVay said. The second-year backup has missed six games. ... Rams DT Sebastian Joseph-Day was limited in practice Wednesday due to a hip injury. McVay wasn't certain of the injury's severity. ... Backup C Brian Allen remained limited in practice with his persistent knee injury.
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