Rams' Jared Goff now a partner, not just a pupil of Sean McVay

Foxworth: Goff is in a better situation than Wentz (1:28)

Domonique Foxworth and Damien Woody contend that Jared Goff is in a better situation with the Rams than Carson Wentz is with the Eagles. (1:28)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- There's a growing presence about quarterback Jared Goff as he moves about the Los Angeles Rams' practice facility.

Goff has already proven he can lead the Rams to a division title and the playoffs, after all he has done that the past two seasons in compiling a 24-7 record. But after he appeared dizzied and confused during a 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII last season, questions remained about whether Goff could lead the Rams to something more.

Since that game, though, Goff has asserted himself as an increasingly confident individual and leader.

Receiver Cooper Kupp says where Goff once used to rely on coach Sean McVay to solve an issue, the fourth-year quarterback is now taking a stand. "He's not waiting, like, 'Oh coach will fix it later,'" Kupp says. "He wants them to know this isn't how we do things and we're going to fix it right now."

Sure, much of his time spent inside the locker room still involves sitting on his stool or even laid across a new leather couch, burying his face within inches of his iPhone screen, scrolling, scrolling, tapping and scrolling, through only he knows what. But months before Goff signed an NFL-record contract, teammates began noticing a difference on the field.

"[He's] controlling our offense," says two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. "When they make a mistake, he's getting on guys. Stuff that you want to see from the starting quarterback."

And how about communication? Goff's intelligence was once mocked by pundits after a story revealed that McVay remained chattering in his ear until his helmet communication cut off 15 seconds before a play.

Teammates say now that Goff is seamlessly able to run the show, when there's communication with his offensive wunderkind coach -- and when there's not.

"I would say some plays, where communication issues aren't perfect, you see Jared take command of the offense, pick a play and just get us going, keep us moving and really just, not always depending on McVay to call a play in crunch time if communication is down," receiver Robert Woods says.

Goff's maturation is allowing for the offense to expand, which is undoubtedly a good thing after opponents started to catch onto or effectively stop -- as the Patriots did in the Super Bowl -- McVay's scheme last season.

"We are able to do a lot more because of his comfort level, his ownership with the operation, with what the intent of each of these calls that we are trying to activate is," McVay says. "When you have a player that is in essence an extension of the coaching staff, you can operate in a lot of special ways, that's what Jared, hopefully, is going to continue to enable us to do as we move forward."

Said Goff, who turns 25 in October: "That's just the natural progression of a quarterback. I've been in this position before in previous teams in college and high school where you grow into that role and I think it's starting to become that even more every day.

"I enjoy it. I think that's the way it's supposed to be and something that I don't take lightly."

It's not a role that the Rams or McVay take lightly, either.

That's why after the Philadelphia Eagles made a long-term commitment to quarterback Carson Wentz -- the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft right behind Goff -- the Rams wasted little time getting Goff his money. Before the season opener, the two sides came together on a deal that will load Goff's pockets through 2024, with an NFL-record $110 million in guarantees and up to $134 million altogether.

"It's just the start," says McVay, who accepted the Rams' coaching job in 2017, in part, because of the potential he saw in Goff. "This isn't a finality, this is just the start of him continuing to grow, continuing to lead us."

Over the past two seasons, Goff has passed for 8,492 yards and 60 touchdowns, with 19 interceptions.

Last Sunday, he led the Rams to a season-opening 30-27 victory over the Carolina Panthers on the road despite a shaky performance. He passed for 186 yards (his fewest since Week 14 of the 2017 season) and a touchdown, with an interception.

This Sunday, the Rams will play the New Orleans Saints in an NFC Championship Game rematch. It will be the fifth time Goff and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees will meet. Goff is 2-2 against the 12-time Pro Bowler.

"The first time we played them, you're kind of in awe of playing Drew Brees and everything that goes along with it when I was a rookie," Goff said. "At this point now, I feel like we're more peers."

McVay, who also signed an extension before the season that keeps him with the team through the 2023 season, continues to cringe when he hears any discussion about Goff as a system quarterback.

It's a label McVay first defended Goff against last season, and one that he'll likely hear again over their next five seasons together.

"He makes the system what it is," McVay says. "We are able to do the things we are because we have the right trigger man that can really do anything that we ask in terms of changing the launch point, what types of concepts we want to activate, whether it be play action, the drop-back game, quick, intermediate, or down the field."

So how far away is Goff from becoming a Super Bowl-winning quarterback?

"Hopefully," Goff says, "not very far at all."