Los Angeles Rams

Rams' Sean McVay interested in one aspect of Jon Gruden's return to Raiders

mcvay-gruden-ap.jpg
AP

Rams' Sean McVay interested in one aspect of Jon Gruden's return to Raiders

It's been a long time since Jon Gruden has had to design an NFL gameplan.

Since leaving the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2008, Gruden spent the last nine years sitting in production meetings with NFL coaches as part of his weekly duties with ESPN.

So, will he implement any of the ideas or schemes he's been studying up on the last nine years?

That's what current Rams head coach and former Gruden assistant Sean McVay wants to know.

"Great coach, great motivator, great leader, great teacher in terms of just understanding the big picture. It'll be interesting to see, will he run the same offense that he was running when I got a chance to work with him in Tampa, or will he now implement some of the different things that he's had a chance to continue to be exposed to over the last handful of years? Either way, hate the fact that we'll have to go against him next year. It'll be fun," McVay said Sunday according to ESPN.

McVay, 31-year-old rookie head coach, was an offensive assistant during Gruden's final year in Tampa Bay in 2008. From 2014 through 2016, McVay served as the offensive coordinator for Jay Gruden in Washington.

Gruden and McVay will indeed face each other during the upcoming 2018 season as the Raiders will host the Rams during an undisclosed week.

Current Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson appears poised to switch sides in the battle as he's expected to join Gruden's staff as the offensive coordinator, a role he held in Oakland in 2013 and 2014.

While the Raiders announced the hiring of Gruden on Saturday evening, they have yet to make public his coaching staff. McVay wouldn't commit to Olson taking the job with the Raiders.

"If that opportunity does present itself, the respect we have for coach Olson, that’s something that we’ll allow him to pursue. We’ll see what happens from there," McVay said via ESPN.

McVay heaped praise on the 54-year-old Olson.

"I have so much respect for coach Olson. He’s been a great coach to us. He’s done a great job with us. He’s a guy that I’ve always had a lot of respect for," McVay said.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' season-ending 34-13 win over Rams

49ers-celebrate-ap.jpg
AP

Three things you need to know from 49ers' season-ending 34-13 win over Rams

LOS ANGELES -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 34-13 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 17 on Sunday:

1. MOMENTUM INTO 2018

The 49ers opened the season with a franchise-worst nine-game losing streak. That seems like an eon ago.

Jimmy Garoppolo moved into the starting lineup on Dec. 3. The 49ers’ transformation was dramatic.

San Francisco finished the season with a five-game win streak with a remade offense and a defense that stopped the run and rallied aggressively to the ball.

Of course, the least-impressive of the 49ers’ win during their streak came against a playoff-bound Rams team that sat 17 of their starters. Still, a win is a win. And the 49ers head into the offseason feeling confident in the direction that has been charted under general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.

It was not long ago that the 49ers looked as if they might have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Now, the club will have a coin toss with the Raiders to determine which teams draft in the Nos. 9 and 10 spots. Both the 49ers and Raiders finished with 6-10 records with identical strengths of schedule of .512.

2. GOOD NEWS FOR GOODWIN

There were a lot of 49ers players who were upset with the hit that injured wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and sent him to the hospital for precautionary evaluations.

Goodwin has experienced his most success as an NFL player, as he came so close to a 1,000-yard season.

But it has also been a season of anguish. He and his wife, Morgan, lost their child due to complications in pregnancy in November. Two weeks ago, Goodwin revealed his biological father passed away.

It was a scary moment on Sunday when Blake Countess made a dangerously high and illegal hit on Goodwin. He sustained a concussion. Goodwin came back to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to join his teammates for the flight home. He appeared to be in good spirits.

“Happy New Year,” an upbeat Goodwin said to a reporter before boarding the team bus to the airport.

3. UP-AND-DOWN GAROPPOLO

Garoppolo said he’s had a great time since coming to the 49ers in a late-October trade with the New England Patriots. He has clearly bonded with his new teammates.

The 26-year-old made more mistakes Sunday than in his previous four starts. But he also showed plenty flashes of the franchise quarterback the 49ers believe he can be.

He completed 20 of 33 passes for 292 yards with two touchdowns and a career-high two interceptions. His passer rating was 84.4.

Now, the hard work begins for the organization. The 49ers need to lock him up to a multi-year contract extension to erase any doubt about his future. The 49ers have the ability to retain him with the franchise tag, but the club needs to find a way to reach an agreement to make sure the union lasts for the foreseeable future.

49ers clobber Rams, ride five-game winning streak into 2018 offseason

garoppolo-celebrates-ap.jpg
AP

49ers clobber Rams, ride five-game winning streak into 2018 offseason

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES – There were far-more important NFL games taking place Sunday afternoon in other locations.

Heck, the playoff-bound Los Angeles Rams essentially mailed it in with backups taking over prominent roles while star players rested for next week’s wild-card round of the NFC playoffs.

But the 49ers have been playing to their own tune this season. For virtually the entire year, the 49ers’ every move was made with an eye toward 2018.

And on the final day of the 2017 calendar year, the 49ers saw it as an opportunity to continue to build momentum heading into an offseason that will not feature a new head coach, a new general manager or both.

The 49ers finished the season on a five-game win streak with a 34-13 victory over the Rams. The team’s winning ways coincided with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s promotion into the starting lineup at the beginning of December.

But the day fell far short of perfect, as popular wide receiver Marquise Goodwin sustained a concussion late in the first half and was carted off the field. He was taken to a local hospital for precautionary evaluation, the club announced.

Rams safety Blake Countess delivered an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on Goodwin, who was running a slant route. Countess was also evaluated for a concussion after the play.

Countess was one of 17 non-starters who took over in the lineup as coach Sean McVay wanted to ensure that his team entered the playoffs with as many healthy starters as possible.

The injury concluded an incredibly trying season for Goodwin, who was ruled out of a game early in the season with a concussion.

On Nov. 12, Goodwin caught an 83-yard touchdown catch in the 49ers’ first win of the season just hours after he and his wife, Morgan, lost their child due to complications in pregnancy.

Two weeks ago, Goodwin caught 10 passes for 114 yards against the Tennessee Titans and revealed afterward his biological father had passed away just days earlier.

Goodwin caught 58 passes for 962 yards – the second-most receiving yards from a player in his first season with the 49ers. In 2013, Anquan Boldin had 1,179 yards after coming to the 49ers in a trade.

On the play after Goodwin’s injury, running back Carlos Hyde – and the offensive line – was clearly motivated to get into the end zone. Hyde scored on an 8-yard run with the final 5 yards coming as the pile pushed past the goal line.

Goodwin scored the 49ers’ first touchdown on Sunday when he caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo in the first quarter. Goodwin lined up in the slot, ran back toward Garoppolo at the snap of the ball. Then, Goodwin reversed field and was uncovered on the right side, where he caught the short pass and cruised into the end zone.

Garoppolo had his first multi-interception game in his seven NFL starts. He completed 20 of 33 passes for 292 yards with two touchdown and two interceptions.

Garoppolo missed more throws than he did in his previous four starts, but he dropped in a beautiful pass to tight end Garrett Celek for 28 yards in the middle of the third quarter. On the next play, Hyde scored on a 5-yard run for a 27-6 lead.

Hyde finished with 90 yards and two touchdowns on 15 rushing attempts. He is scheduled to be a free agent in March.

THIS ‘N’ THAT
--Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner left the game in the second quarter with a chest injury. He was originally listed as questionable, but appeared to aggravate the injury when he returned to action. He was ruled out at halftime.

--Cornerback Dontae Johnson sustained a neck “stinger” in the third quarter. He returned to action later in the second half.

--Linebacker Reuben Foster and nickel back K’Waun Williams were shaken up but left the field under their own power after colliding while making a tackle in the fourth quarter.

--Rookie tight end George Kittle caught four passes for his career-high 100 yards, including a 44-yard reception on the first drive of the game.

--Kicker Robbie Gould made field goals of 33 and 48 yards in the first half to help supply the 49ers with a 13-3 lead. Gould entered the game with 37 made kicks on 39 attempts. With a fourth-quarter extra point, Gould set a single-season career-high with 144 points scored on the season.

--Among the Rams standouts who did not play were quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley, left tackle Andrew Whitworth, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and linebackers Mark Barron and Alec Olgletree.

Sean Mannion made the first start of his three-year NFL career. He completed 20 of 34 passes for 169 yards with zero touchdowns and no interceptions.

Among the Rams standouts who did not play were quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley, left tackle Andrew Whitworth, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and linebackers Mark Barron and Alec Olgletree.

--The Rams got their first first down of the game with 2:01 remaining in the first quarter when Buckner was called for roughing the passer on a third-down incompletion. It appeared as if referee Terry McAulay called Buckner for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Mannion.

--Defensive lineman Aaron Lynch, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent in March, was inactive for the ninth time this season. Lynch missed four games with a calf injury but was a healthy inactive for four of the 49ers’ final six games.

--Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon forced a third-quarter fumble after a short pass to rookie tight end Gerald Everett. K’Waun Williams recovered the fumble, which set up Garoppolo’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson.