Jared Goff had an abysmal rookie year.
Despite being the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams quarterback played in just seven games last season and finished with more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (5).
Fast forward to now, and Goff has looked like a totally different player. He's the conductor of a high-powered Rams offense that currently ranks second in the league in points per game (29.9). Thanks in large part to Goff's dramatic improvement, the Rams are in line for their first playoff appearance since 2004.
A driving force behind Goff's improved play has been an ingenious in-game tactic employed by Rams first-year head coach Sean McVay. It centers around the coach-to-quarterback radio technology employed by NFL teams. Introduced in 1994, the system helps offensive coaches discuss plays and strategies with their quarterback throughout the game. There's one catch, though—the radio cuts off when the play clock hits 15 seconds, limiting the coach's ability to call pre-snap reads or audibles based off the defense's alignment.
McVay hasn't tried to decipher a way to communicate with Goff during those final 15 seconds of the play clock. Instead, he's focused on maximizing the amount of time that's available before the 15-second cutoff. The Rams offense strives to get to the line of scrimmage very quickly. This forces the defense to line up equally fast, lest they risk giving up easy yardage. So the defense typically shows their hand well before the 15-second communication cutoff, affording McVay time to relay in pre-snap reads and audibles to Goff. Mark Bullock, a contributing NFL writer for the Washington Post, first noticed the tactic during a SoundFX segment.
Around the 1:15 mark, you can hear McVay radio in a "Wilson Hoosier" call before Goff yells it to the rest of the offense. Seconds later, you can hear him do the same for an "Elvis" call. He then proceeds to call a number of other audibles, ranging from "Tupac" to "Ric Flair."
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) November 16, 2017
Here's an example from Sunday's game:
Here is an example. 8:30 in Q1. 9 yard completion to start drive. Rams get set quickly with 29 seconds on play clock. Immediate motion. Pause, silence, receives check, relays it, ball snapped at 9 seconds. Copy, paste. pic.twitter.com/1UGUG8MQzs
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) November 27, 2017
It's an ingenious tactic from McVay, as it allows him and his offensive staff time to analyze the defense before communicating with Goff. That simplifies things for the second-year signal caller, who at times was overwhelmed with the intricacies of the position last season. It also doesn't wind the Rams offensive players like a Chip Kelly-style fast-paced offense would, since they're simply lining up quickly but still getting sufficient rest between snaps. Kudos to McVay for finding a simple, effective way to help Goff navigate the hardest position in all of sports.
Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images
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