In all sincerity, this article was meant to publish in 2019. But I’m glad it didn’t! While predicting that Jared Goff would come out of the 2018-2019 season as a household name in the list of elite quarterbacks was a bad forecast, I feel that the argument for such case is stronger going into the 2020-21 season.
The hype is admittedly not the same, reports during the 2019 pre-season training camps took aim at Goff’s notable boost in swagger, beginning to give the idea of finally propelling into top-10 conversations at the position. On top of this expectation was the embarrassing Super Bowl performance that cost Los Angeles a Super Bowl — ending in a 13-3 score, New England the victors — that would become the fire underneath Goff’s passion for redemption.
The pressure may have been at their zenith ever back then, but I think Jared Goff’s ready to take the next step by not just becoming an elite quarterback this season, but an NFL MVP.
Building The Case For A Jared Goff MVP Season In 2020
The crux of my case in this prediction comes from a path to MVP that we have already seen not too long ago. In 2015, dependable Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had potential that didn’t always show when talk of an anemic amount of playoff wins under Matt Ryan circulated in Atlanta, and that maybe Ryan wasn’t their guy. He produced a slightly above-average season with 4,591 passing yards and a 21-16 TD-INT ratio, also ending the season with an 8-8 record.
A full year later passes and the first-ever MVP in Falcon’s history becomes Matt Ryan, leading the Falcons to an NFC Championship, an appearance in Super Bowl 51, and suffering the infamous 28-3 comeback against the New England Patriots. The loss is better known for its omissions with the playmaking schematics rather than Matt Ryan’s performance. He went into the season as a question mark and ended it as an exclamation point.
… the perception of Goff’s ceiling has heavily come into question within the organization and the time to commit or cut loss has arrived this upcoming season.
Jared Goff is facing the same point in his career with the Rams that Matt Ryan faced with the Falcons before his MVP campaign. Ending the season with an identical lukewarm performance for the quarterback (4,638 passing yards, 22-16 TD-INT ratio, 9-7 record), the perception of Goff’s ceiling has heavily come into question within the organization and the time to commit or cut loss has arrived this upcoming season.
While he deserves a bit of blame for the missed playoff appearance this past season, questions at running back with the declining availability of Todd Gurley no longer carries the potential of becoming the thorn in the playbook’s schematics again. Let Devonta Freeman’s performance during Ryan’s MVP season show you the vast improvement a quarterback can see when their running back can catch and run. When Gurley thrived, Goff’s play undeniably piggybacked.
Sean McVay’s proven offense can create that type of player at the running back position now that Gurley is no longer a Ram (ironically now a Falcon). A trio of Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Jr., and Malcolm Brown are capable of producing for Goff in both rushing and catches out of the backfield, thus leading to Goff’s elevated ceiling.
Goff’s call to action comes at a time where the deadline for an answer feels right around the corner. And complemented by an Aaron Donald-led defense, will see their window for another Super Bowl appearance close shut if they miss the playoffs again.
The NFC West has not grown softer and will continue to prove itself as the toughest division in football with a promising Kyler Murray, MVP-level Russell Wilson, and reigning coach of the year Kyle Shanahan won’t allow them to re-enter the picture if the Rams aren’t back to top-10 status themselves. And so far, it is in Goff’s hands to get them there.
Jared Goff has the most to prove out of the far-too-early list of MVP candidates — Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Saquon Barkley, Carson Wentz, or a Lamar Jackson repeat. Ask me if he’ll be this year’s MVP and I believe he can be. If he mirrors the Matt Ryan storyline as he is on track to do, the Rams are back in the Super Bowl and the MVP won’t be the same background player this time around.