Goff takes what the defense gives him
The passes were mostly short, many on play-action rollouts.
And that was fine with Jared Goff.
The Rams quarterback finished Saturday’s joint practice with the Chargers by efficiently moving the offense down the field during a two-minute drill at StubHub Center.
“Taking what they give us,” Goff said. “They were playing their base defense, and with what they play, a lot of underneath stuff was open.
“So if it’s there, just keep taking it.”
Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, took another small step toward establishing himself as a capable starter for first-year coach Sean McVay.
On a day when there was no live tackling, Goff looked comfortable — if not completely accurate — from the shotgun formation and also from under center.
He passed for several short touchdowns and avoided interceptions during red-zone and seven-onseven drills throughout the two-plus hour workout. His one misstep: allowing Chargers’ defensive end Joey Bosa to strip the ball while passing in a red-zone drill.
But Goff completed eight of 10 passes against the Chargers’ No. 1 defense during the two-minute portion, one of the incomplete passes coming on a third-and-three play from the eight-yard line.
“I thought he settled in,” McVay said. “I thought he did a nice job in the two-minute drill taking completions, being smart with the footsome ball.” With receivers Tavon Austin and Mike Thomas sidelined because of injuries, the Rams did not demonstrate a vertical threat. Goff missed on his one deep pass to rookie Cooper Kupp. Kupp, Robert Woods and Pharoh Cooper seemed to rarely venture beyond 10 or 15 yards.
That could be an issue for team trying to find multiple ways to take the defensive focus off running back Todd Gurley.
After an outstanding rookie season in 2015, Gurley struggled last season as defensive coordinators loaded up to stop him and force the NFL’s worst offense to beat them with the pass. Gurley was repeatedly hit behind the line of scrimmage, never looked comfortable and did not eclipse 100 yards rushing in a game.
But as he did during the first week of training camp, Gurley looked sharp, especially on a few plays when he ran toward the line of scrimmage and then cut to the outside and turned upfield.
“I thought you saw a violent runner,” McVay said.
Gurley, who also caught a few passes, was on board with that characterization.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll take that all day, for sure.”
A Rams defense facing veteran Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was without at least four starters.
Lineman Aaron Donald remains absent because of a contract dispute. Lineman Michael Brockers and linebacker Robert Quinn were in uniform but did not participate in team drills. Safety Lamarcus Joyner watched from the sideline.
The Rams will practice with the Chargers again Wednesday at UC Irvine, a workout that is open to the public.
McVay anticipates that Goff will continue to improve.
“As long as we make good decisions, play within the timing of the play and throw the football accurately, you’re going to give yourself a chance to play productive football from that spot and that’s what we’re looking for from him,” McVay said.
A few days after the joint practice, the Rams will play their first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys at the Coliseum.
McVay said Goff and other starters probably will play six to 10 plays in the first preseason game.
“You want him to be able to play with the guys that we’re anticipating [around] him,” McVay said of Goff, adding, “You want to see continuity, ability to get a couple first downs. Then, make sure we stay healthy and give some other guys a chance to compete.”
Kupp, Cooper, Gurley and tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee caught touchdown passes from Goff during red zone or seven-onseven drills . ... Backup quarterback Sean Mannion had several nice completions to receiver Paul McRoberts and a touchdown pass to tight end Temarrick Hemingway during seven-on-seven drills…. Linebacker Alec Ogletree burst through the line once to nab Rivers…. Safety Cody Davis broke up a Rivers pass in the end zone during seven-on-seven drills.