Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff's bank account grew exponentially this offseason. In March, he collected a cool $21 million and more than half of his $134 million, four-year extension became fully guaranteed.
Now, as the Rams prepare for the 2020 season without star running back Todd Gurley II, questions remain on whether Goff's production will grow exponentially, too.
For his past three-plus seasons as starter, Goff has had the All-Pro Gurley to rely on -- whether it be as a dominant ball carrier or as decoy for defenses to focus on.
In 2017 and 2018, Gurley powered the offense to two NFC West titles and a trip to Super Bowl LIII. Last season, even as Gurley's production declined, opponents were forced to account for him in the backfield.
Following the Rams' decision to cut Gurley in March, Goff becomes the focal point of the offensive scheme, though Goff said it's a role that has always aligned with his position.
"There's no label to put on anything, whose team it is or whose it on more or not more," said Goff, who turns 26 in October. "It's always been on me, it's always been on the quarterback."
Rams coach Sean McVay said the onus to excel without Gurley falls on the entire offense.
"Anytime that you lose a great player, the guys are asked to step up," McVay said. "I think it's about our offense producing as a whole; our quarterback position is vital to our success, he's got 10 other teammates around him that we'll expect to be able to do their task at a high level."
The Rams return nine of 11 starters from last season's offense, which performed below expectations after it was among the NFL's highest-scoring units in 2017 and 2018. Along with releasing Gurley, the Rams also traded speedy receiver Brandin Cooks, whom McVay often lauded for stretching a defense.
But, as the Rams completed a seven-week, virtual offseason program, Goff pointed to the unit's continuity to help them rebound from a 9-7 finish and their first playoffs miss under McVay.
"We do have an advantage offensively with the same system, the same players and everything," said Goff, who passed for 22 touchdowns but threw a career-high 16 interceptions last season.
The Rams return their entire starting offensive line, a group that underwent growing pains in 2019. They also return starting receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp and tight end Tyler Higbee, who emerged late last season as a go-to target.
But perhaps the biggest addition to the offense will be offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell, whom McVay hired from the Washington Redskins.
"Kevin O'Connell is going to be huge for [Goff's] growth in terms of their relationship and their rapport," said McVay, who went the past two seasons without a full-time offensive coordinator after Matt LaFleur departed following the 2017 season.
O'Connell and Goff were unable to complete any on-field work this offseason because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Goff -- whose 48.5 total QBR last season ranked 23rd among qualified quarterbacks -- expressed optimism about O'Connell's potential impact.
"I can already see through this point that he's going to be really good for us and really good for our whole team," said Goff, who will be working with his fifth quarterbacks coach in five NFL seasons, as O'Connell assumes that role, too. "For me, specifically, him being a guy who played quarterback and has coached quarterbacks at a high level, it's exciting for me."
Fundamentals and ownership of the offense will be key for Goff, according to O'Connell, a former third-round draft pick who served as a backup quarterback for four seasons on various teams.
"You feel strongly about presenting him with a plan where he can truly have some ownership while also understanding at the end of the day it's just about being great with the details of doing his job," O’Connell said. "He's got a chance to have a great season."
As Goff enters Year 5, McVay is emphasizing improved consistency in all facets of Goff's game.
"How consistent can [he] be when the pocket allows, playing within the timing and rhythm," McVay said, "When things go off schedule ... delivering the ball with your base, balance and body position ... make great decisions ...
"I could go on and on about all this, but it would be the same answer, ultimately."
Last season, consistency was difficult to come by, as Goff and the offense struggled to develop an identity with less Gurley, more Goff and indecision about whether they were a run- or pass-first offense. Their play-action -- Goff's bread-and-butter in his first two seasons under McVay -- suffered, as teams failed to bite on the Rams' run game, which appeared to evaporate at different points in the season.
By the end of the season, the Rams discovered more success in 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends, two receivers) than they had been experiencing in McVay's often-used 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three receivers).
Goff agrees with McVay: Consistency will be key as they attempt to rebound from a lackluster season. But Goff also said he's freer to disagree with McVay than ever before.
"I feel like I'm able to have even more of an opinion than I've ever had, and it will continue to grow," Goff said, "but at this point, me and Sean have been through so much together, we've seen so much together, where he can say something and I can disagree confidently, and likewise with him."