NFC West Q&A: What are realistic expectations for Jared Goff in Year 2?

The Los Angeles Rams traded up last year to take quarterback Jared Goff No. 1 overall, but they weren’t expecting a superstar.

At least not yet.

They simply need him to take care of the football and be enough of a downfield threat that defenses aren’t stacking the box so aggressively to stop running back Todd Gurley.

It’s reasonable to expect improvement from Goff, but those expectations must be tempered. His numbers through seven games -- 54.6 completion percentage, 5.3 yards per attempt, 22.9 Total QBR -- were dreadful. And though a lot of the blame can be directed at an inadequate offensive line and an uninspiring group of receivers, Goff himself showed he has a long way to go. He needs to make better reads, be more accurate and have a better feel in the pocket.

The Rams have turned over their coaching staff, adding Sean McVay and a collection of coaches with a history of helping quarterbacks succeed. So, what are realistic expectations for Goff in Year 2?

Josh Weinfuss, Arizona Cardinals reporter: There’s nowhere to go but up, right? It’s silly not to expect Goff to make significant strides between Years 1 and 2, when most players have their biggest growth. Developing quarterbacks, especially rookies, is tough in this era of the collective bargaining agreement, when interaction with coaches is so limited. And it didn’t help Goff last year that he didn’t start until Week 11. In theory, starting him in Week 1 would’ve given him the chance to get fully baptized by the fire of the NFL. Or he should’ve sat his entire rookie season and learned that way, as Carson Palmer did in 2003. His growth may have been stunted by playing in only seven games. After a full offseason to work on his own game while learning an entirely new scheme -- possibly one he can contribute to molding -- more growth should be expected from him. I’m not projecting him to be a Pro Bowler in Year 2, but I think he’ll show more of why he was the No. 1 pick.

Nick Wagoner, San Francisco 49ers reporter: Well, for his sake, the first expectation should be that he can spend more time upright and scanning the field before throwing than he did as a rookie. The signing of tackle Andrew Whitworth should help in that regard, but the Rams still have major questions at three other spots on the line. The Rams also continued to add receiving options for Goff, which was something they lacked when they drafted him. There still isn't a No. 1 wideout here, but a few reliable ones are better than none. The addition of McVay should be even better for Goff's future. The quarterback had little chance to live up to his draft status under former coach Jeff Fisher and his antiquated offensive scheme, but McVay looks to be at the complete opposite end of that spectrum. That's not to say he will turn Goff into a superstar. But if Goff is going to develop at all, McVay seems capable of pulling whatever the quarterback has out of him. I wouldn't expect Goff to magically become a Pro Bowler in Year 2, but a step forward to something closer to league average or slightly below is reasonable.

Sheil Kapadia, Seattle Seahawks reporter: Periods of competency. That may sound harsh, but as mentioned, Goff’s rookie debut was terrible. He averaged 3.77 yards per dropback, which would have been the worst mark in the league had he qualified with enough starts. As a point of reference, among qualifying quarterbacks, Brock Osweiler ranked last and even he averaged 5.26 yards per dropback. No passing game in the NFL was less efficient than the Rams'. It’s completely fair to point out that Goff wasn’t given a ton of help from the coaching staff or his supporting cast, but at no time last season did he look the part of a No. 1 overall pick. There will be struggles and inconsistencies in 2017, but if Goff can show flashes of upside with a new coaching staff, that will at least give Rams fans hope for the future.