IRVINE, Calif. -- Eric Dickerson, the Hall of Fame running back and noted Los Angeles Rams provocateur, made headlines once again a couple of weeks ago when he said Sean Mannion should start at quarterback over former No. 1 pick Jared Goff.
"Give him a shot -- you drafted him," Dickerson pleaded on Fox Sports 1's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd."
Word quickly spread to Mannion himself.
"I heard about it," he said after Sunday's practice. "I appreciate his comments. It's nice that he’s been supportive of me, but those aren't my decisions to make. I certainly have confidence in my abilities, and feel like if I'm called upon, I can do a lot of things to help this team win. But those aren't my decisions to make.
"It makes you feel good for someone to say something nice about you, but you also can't get caught up in what the media says, because one day it will be good, like what Eric says, and then the other day it can easily turn the other way."
Mannion was a third-round pick in 2015 after a record-breaking career at Oregon State, but has thrown only 13 NFL passes over the past two seasons. This year, for the first time, Mannion enters as a backup, which means he will at least dress for games. But Goff is the clear starter, and there has not been any indication of that changing. Goff has basically taken all the first-team snaps through the offseason program and the first two practices from training camp. He is being groomed to be the franchise quarterback, and though his rookie season was a struggle, the Rams need to see what he can do under an offensive-minded head coach such as Sean McVay.
McVay nonetheless believes Mannion has "done an excellent job."
"You can see that Sean's a conscientious guy," McVay said, "where he was really working on some of the little things from the offseason program and he was able to translate it to where he built on what he did in the offseason as opposed to starting over."
Mannion, 25, believes he has "done a lot of nice things" in the first two practices and that he has made significant strides with regards to getting rid of the football quicker.
He has also grown close with Goff.
"I will always support Jared, and I've felt since Day One, since we've been together, he's always supported me," Mannion said. "We're not going to let anything make our relationship divisive. We've got a great relationship, we're good friends. We're from the Bay Area. I think our dads even went to high school together. We're not going to let anything get in the way of us supporting each other as a team. And with [third-string quarterback Dan Orlovsky] in the fold now, it's been a really, really healthy room. We're not going to let anything, good or bad, change that."
Goff holds the Pac-12 record for single-season passing yards with 4,714 for Cal in 2015, 52 more yards than what Mannion threw with the Beavers in 2013. But Mannion easily holds the Pac-12 record for career passing yards with 13,600. That hasn't bought him a real opportunity to start for the Rams, but the organization does think enough of Mannion to give him a shot as a backup this season. And Mannion will at least get an extended opportunity to prove himself in preseason games.
"I have confidence in my abilities," Mannion said. "But I'm going to do whatever I can in my role now and help support Jared as best as I can."