- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 16, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Here’s an odd fact: The Redskins are scheduled to face each of the top four overall draft picks from the 2016 class this season with the Rams (Jared Goff), Eagles (Carson Wentz), Chargers (Joey Bosa) and Cowboys (Ezekiel Elliott) all on the schedule. 

It’s the first two, the quarterbacks, who Washington gets first. Last week Wentz led the Eagles to a win at FedEx Field and, on Sunday, the Redskins face Goff and the Rams in Los Angeles. That’s 5,600 points of draft capital according to the trade value chart teams use — roughly equivalent to the entire third round. 

Goff went first and Wentz went second but, last season, it was Wentz who looked to be the better prospect while Goff made seven winless starts and struggled under Jeff Fisher. Now, it’s Sean McVay’s job to see what he can make of the talented Cal product. 

“I think it has really been about — over the last handful of months — figuring out what he’s comfortable with and then kind of what fits our players while you also still also do want to have an identity,” McVay said. 

One knock, or at least question, on Goff was how he’d transition from operating almost exclusively out of the shotgun in Cal’s air raid offense to the NFL game. Wentz, for instance, played in an offense at North Dakota State much closer to a pro offense. 

“As he continues to gain that experience, playing underneath the center, working the play-action game, the boots and different things like that, I think you see him getting more and more comfortable just like anyone else would,” McVay said. 

In Week 1, Goff looked leaps and bounds better than he did at any point last season, passing for 306 yards and moving the ball easily downfield. He also won, though it was against a lowly Colts team that, without Andrew Luck, is one of the NFL’s worst. Still, it was easy to see that change as a product of McVay’s impact.

“I mean, it is a quarterback-friendly offense when everything is in your favor — lead, down and distance and all that stuff,” Gruden said of McVay’s offense. He did first joke that it’s a bit silly to describe coaching the No. 1 pick in the draft as some kind of epic challenge. 

Redskins left tackle Trent Williams hypothesized that McVay is likely to have success with Goff because he’s flexible in tailoring his scheme to fit the talent he has. 

“Sometimes, some of the old-school coaches it’s either their way or the highway,” Williams said. “…He’s one of those new-age coaches who allows players to play to their strengths.”  

It remains to be seen if Goff can do enough this season to convince the Rams he can be the franchise player they hoped they drafted. McVay wasn’t involved in that draft process, but he said he sees the things in Goff he would have looked for in any quarterback coming out of a spread offense. 

“I think what is very important as far as just working that transition from college to the NFL is doing a great job with the evaluation of the person to see how you think those skills would translate,” McVay said. “You know, how do they process information? Are they able to make quick, good decisions with the football?” 

• Nora Princiotti can be reached at nprinciotti@washingtontimes.com.

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