Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jon Gruden reflects on last year’s No. 1

- By Gary Klein

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Rams do not have a first-round pick in this week’s NFL draft, the result of a trade with Tennessee that enabled them to pick quarterbac­k Jared Goff first overall in 2016.

Former NFL coach Jon Gruden, who annually evaluates quarterbac­ks during his “Gruden’s QB Camp” for ESPN, assessed last year’s No. 1 now a year later.

“Well, you know, Goff, he came out early, a true junior, I don’t think he’s 100 percent what he’s going to be physically,” Gruden said Wednesday during a teleconfer­ence with reporters. “I still think he’s going to get stronger.”

Goff, 22, was inactive for the season opener and then sat behind Case Keenum for eight games before he was installed as the starter. The Rams were winless in his seven starts.

“I do think that he went into a difficult situation,” Gruden said. “That’s an offensive line that struggled. That is a receiving corps that struggled. And [with] his inexperien­ce, I think that’s a difficult combinatio­n for a young quarterbac­k and I think that’s a big reason they were 0-7 when he was the starter.”

As the Rams began offseason workouts last week, Goff said it would be different going into the season as the presumed starter.

“It’s helpful knowing coming into it that who I’ll be working with — the [offensive] line, the receivers, all the people I’ll be working with is helpful,” he said.

New Rams coach Sean McVay began his coaching career as an assistant under Gruden with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gruden said McVay, 31, can be successful.

“Sean McVay will come in, I think, and give them a lot of energy, a lot of optimism,” Gruden said. “I think he’ll give them some expertise.

“He’s been good with young quarterbac­ks. He’s been good with young receivers and young players, and I just think he’s going to bring a real positive, upbeat presence to the offensive side of the ball.”

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