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Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay sees big picture with QB Jared Goff

By The Sports Xchange
The NFL's number one draft choice Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff warms up during pre-season game three at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver on August 27, 2016. File photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/e18ffe38814c67852ce3adec6e01aaf0/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The NFL's number one draft choice Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff warms up during pre-season game three at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver on August 27, 2016. File photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- It's been a mostly positive offseason, training camp and preseason for second-year quarterback Jared Goff, who guided the Los Angeles Rams to three touchdowns and a field goal over the first six possessions he directed during the preseason.

On Saturday, though, Goff took a bit of a step back by turning the ball over on a fumble and interception to help the Los Angeles Chargers score 14 points in their 21-19 win over the Rams.

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The fumble was returned 76 yards by Melvin Ingram for a touchdown, and while Goff was guilty of holding onto the ball too long, it didn't help that Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa blew past right tackle Rob Havenstein to strip-sack Goff.

The interception, though, was Goff's fault as he overthrew a wide open Sammy Watkins into the hands of Jason Verrett.

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Although Rams head coach Sean McVay hinted the interception might have been the result of a miscommunication with Goff and Watkins - likely the result of Watkins still learning his way with a new team - Goff took all the blame.

"No, I just kind of came off it a little bit," he said. "I can't do that. I can't make that throw. Just a bad throw. I came off it."

Goff finished 5 of 6 for 56 yards, and on the preseason is 24 of 30 for 250 yards and a touchdown.

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McVay is focusing on the big-picture numbers rather than getting caught up in the two mistakes.

He said, "I think he's improved a lot. I think the sample size is the thing that I'll continue to go back with. He got a chance to play 35 snaps against Oakland where you can really get into a real rhythm. Even after the turnover with the interception, we ran the football a lot on that drive, had a couple throws. But, I think when you get a chance to kind of really fight your way back from some adversity that you've faced throughout the course of a game, those are where you get the best indicators of how a guy responds. I thought his demeanor, the way that he handled it was good and we're going to continue to grow every single day. Just like I was saying, it's going to be very important for us to maximize practice if that's the direction where we go where he doesn't play against Green Bay next week."

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Goff is likely to sit out the Rams' final preseason game against the Packers Thursday, and if so, he believes he's ready to start the regular season Sept. 10 against the 49ers.

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"Yeah I think so. I think, like I said, I would've liked to have finished the day on a little bit of a better note, but I think in all three games as a whole I feel like I did a good job and feel like I got a lot out of it - got some good work and some good situational stuff," he said." A lot to learn from and a lot of stuff that we can get better from."

Notes: Second-year tight end Temarrick Hemingway suffered a probable season-ending broken fibula Saturday against the Chargers. Hemingway had made big strides since his rookie year and was on target for a role in the tight-end rotation. Said head coach Sean McVay, "He was one of the guys that I was extremely encouraged with - we were as a staff. We were really counting on him for some big things because I think when you talk about the length, the athleticism, his movement - when he gets the ball in his hands, he's a guy that can create after the catch. He offered a lot of flexibility with what we could do with some of our personnel groupings, so this is a big loss for us. Like I said, it will be interesting to see who kind of steps up to fill that void because there certainly is one left by what we had anticipated for Temarrick for the start of the season. Hopefully we'll get some good news back where it's not going to be a season-ending injury, but we'll find that out in the next few days."

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Rookie wide receiver Josh Reynolds is making his presence felt. A fourth-round pick out of Texas A&M, he pulled in a touchdown pass for the second straight week - this one a 38-yarder from Sean QB Mannion - and showed toughness going over the middle and holding onto the ball after absorbing a brutal hit. "It was a great ball by Sean Mannion with those two connecting again with a big play that almost ended up being the difference in us winning and losing that football game," said Rams head coach Sean McVay. "I thought it showed a lot from Josh in terms of his toughness, both mentally and physically with a couple of those plays."

Said Mannion: "He's a great, great player. I mean really huge catch radius I mean I think that was evident he made an awesome, awesome play going over the middle, just played with awesome toughness and then that same drive came back and caught the touchdown, so that speaks volumes of him to take a shot like that and hop right up and go make another play. But, I think skillset wise, he's tall, he's lanky. He's a real fast runner, so I think for catch radius, he's the kind of guy who goes out and gets the ball with his arms and has the height and the speed to be a vertical threat."

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Wide receiver Tavon Austin has missed all of the preseason with hamstring issues, but appears on target to be ready for the season opener Sept. 10 against the Colts. Austin will not play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Packers.

"If it was a normal game week, I think he would be able to play," said Rams head coach Sean McVay. "He's made huge progress with Reggie (trainer Reggie Scott) over the last week where he's running, reaching some higher speeds on the treadmill and stuff where it's 100 percent of the weight that he's supporting. So, those have been some good things and you'll start to figure out - we're going to have to start brainstorming some ways with how we're going to utilize Tavon in that game, which will be fun."

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