Sitting with coach Jeff Fisher and senior director of communications Artis Twyman in advance of his introductory news conference, Goff was grabbing a bite to eat and recounting the whirlwind 48 hours that preceded it when two of his long ago predecessors walked in the room. Fisher promptly introduced Goff to Jim Everett and Vince Ferragamo, two of the most productive passers in Rams history.
"That was a really special moment for us to have them come in and really be the first people to greet Jared, and it was really cool," Fisher said. "That’s the start of a long relationship between you three."
Goff, who wears No. 16 in honor of Joe Montana, is a student of the game's history and quickly recognized the duo.
“Really really cool, real special," Goff said. "Obviously, I grew up watching those guys and those guys being former Rams quarterbacks, and now me stepping into that role, it’s really cool to get a chance to meet them and hopefully get a chance to pick their brain a little bit later.”
That was a conversation Everett, in particular, was looking forward to. Everett was the last long-time starting quarterback the team had before the Rams relocated to St. Louis in 1995. He was the team's leading passer from 1986-1993 and also knows about trying to live up to expectations after the Rams traded a lot of draft capital and players for his rights in 1986.
"It was like 30 years [ago] almost today that I went through the same draft process," Everett said last week. "I didn’t know I was going to be traded but the fact is I did get traded and I do know a little bit about having the expectations of a franchise a little bit. To put it in perspective, we have got a 21-year old man that he’s got a lot of pressure. But if he has the same composure that he did in his first press conference in the pocket, I think he’ll be just fine."
Goff is walking into something of a pressure cooker in the nation's second-largest market. While the Rams figure to have a little bit of a honeymoon period in bringing the NFL back to town after a two decade-plus hiatus, they're going to have to produce victories sooner than later to keep the city's attention from straying to the many other sports options available.
Everett knows all about that but came away impressed with Goff's response when he was asked how he'd handle it.
"Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him," Everett said. "But I think he said it best that he has to do his job. He can’t go out and be someone he’s not. He’s got to just do what he does and get the playbook down. I was listening to him talk and how many wins do you need for a successful rookie season? And I was like, just learn the playbook. From there, you can get on the field and from there you complete passes. It’s just like baby steps. But I think they’ll encourage him to go quickly. I think he’s very intelligent after being able to talk with him and his parents. His parents are very grounded. So I could see why they made the pick."
Maybe the best advice Everett can give Goff is to do the same thing he did and lean on a franchise running back to help alleviate some of that pressure in his rookie season. For Everett, it was Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson. For Goff, it's Offensive Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley.
"That’s why I think this makes sense," Everett said. "I don’t know if it makes sense for all teams to do what the Rams did but it makes sense. We have Gurley, we have an offensive line that’s young, that’s bonding, that I think ‘Are there question marks? Yeah, but we’ve got to give these young guys a chance.’ But having a running back I think is key to a young quarterback’s start. Ask Troy Aikman. He wouldn’t be where he was without Emmitt Smith."
Everett paused, acknowledging that Aikman also had guys like Michael Irvin to ease the burden. He smiles, perhaps aware of how the Rams planned to spend their day 3 picks looking for help in the passing game.
"You can’t leave out the receiver," Everett said. "So I would love to see him out there right now. In my most successful years, the tight end is important, especially in a ball control passing offense and I think that’s something that needs to be addressed and wide receiver. But those guys will get it."