With one of the most disappointing seasons by a quarterback selected first overall in the draft, Jared Goff was already being labeled a bust after only his rookie season.
When new head coach Sean McVay came along, he utilized Goff’s abilities and put him in a system he would be more comfortable with– and the results showed themselves quickly.
Read about how Goff re-energized his career by using his Maverick mindset; open to change and flourishing under a new, less-rigid structure:
This is where Jared Goff found himself after his rookie season in 2016. He started seven games for the Rams that season, a team that finished an abysmal 4-12 in the NFC West. He threw only five touchdowns, which he paired with seven interceptions and a below-average 54.6 percent completion percentage.
That all changed in 2017, when new head coach Sean McVay came to Los Angeles and allowed Goff’s competitive creativity and skill-set shine.
“It’s a big difference,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said to the News Tribune when talking about the 2017 version of Goff. “He’s playing to his potential. We can see him game-in-and-game-out, making great throws and commanding the offense. He’s creative with the plays that he makes and he’s utilizing his players really well.”
Creativity is a big part of Goff’s game. Improvising when things break down, then relying on his insane natural arm talent to help make plays for his team to keep moving the offense forward. This is a key trait of a Maverick athlete– comfortable adapting in the moment, willing to take risks, and very inventive.
In the video below, you can see Goff sitting in the pocket, and when his receivers are blanketed then, his improvisational instincts kick in as he directs wide receiver Josh Reynolds into some open space– just enough to make a throw into a tight window for a touchdown:
Accepting the risk of improvisation and betting on themselves, that’s a cornerstone of the Maverick mindset, inventive athletes who go against the grain, comfortable adapting to the moment.
It’s clear that his coaches trust his ability to make decisions and his comfort in adapting to the moment. Tony Romo, who was calling one of Goff’s games for CBS this year said, “he’s doing more at the line of scrimmage than anybody I’ve seen in his second year in a long time – probably since Peyton Manning.”
This sort of freedom plays directly into Goff’s mental strengths as a Maverick. The coaching staff, headed up by Sean McVay let’s Goff do what he does best.
Maverick athletes don’t like highly structured situations, it’s tough for them to perform and think in the way that makes them most effective in those kinds of situations. In his lone season playing for Jeff Fisher, a more traditional, stick-to-your-guns NFL coach, Goff struggled mightily.
He finished his rookie season under Fisher with an 0-7 record as a starter with five passing touchdowns and seven interceptions– a disappointment to say the least.
With McVay and company entrenched in his sophomore season in the NFL, and emboldened by more trust and flexibility from his coaching staff, Goff showed why he went number one overall in the draft the year before.
“He’s young, and he’s not stuck in his ways like some coaches are,” Goff said of McVay in an interview with ESPN. “I’m not referring to any of the staff I’ve been with. I’m just saying in general you hear about guys who say, ‘This is the way we do it.’ If there’s some sort of footwork or concept I don’t feel comfortable doing, he’s more than willing to adjust.”
While there was clearly some personnel and player additions in the previous offseason that allowed the Rams to succeed last season, there is no doubt the freedom and trust the coaching staff allowed Goff to operate with was a catalyst to major success. Goff led the Rams to a 10-4 record, and he threw 24 touchdowns to only seven interceptions, a turnaround season for the ages.
Innovative and adaptable, hallmarks of the Maverick mindset, and the willingness of the coaching staff to allow Goff to play to his strengths, turned him from someone people were calling a bust after only seven starts into the cornerstone piece the Rams believed he could be.
“He doesn’t flinch, man,” McVay told USA Today. “This guy is not afraid to fail. He attacks it. That fearlessness while being smart is a great trait that a lot of the great ones have.”
“He stays even keeled all the time. Now we’re really seeing it show up in games,” McVay said. “Again, he doesn’t flinch. That’s what you want. That demeanor and disposition rubs off on his teammates. When you’re calling plays in the huddle and you’ve got that calm, quiet confidence no matter what’s going on, that’s a special quality. He builds on his success, and when bad things happen, he learns from it. So, he’s just going to continue to grow.”