They’re part of the same 2016 Rams’ draft class. They’ve worked out plenty together, not just at Los Angeles’ facility but also on their own. And they’ve roomed together in each of their first two training camps.
Not to mention a tight end is always thought of as a young quarterback’s security blanket.
So when Goff hit Higbee down the seam over a much smaller linebacker during 7-on-7 drills in Wednesday’s practice with the Chargers, it seemed natural. Higbee’s size and speed create matchup issues for defenses. Goff recognized the coverage and the matchup, and hit the tight end in stride for what was ostensibly a touchdown.
It’s an example of the chemistry and timing both players have worked hard to develop. Goff called their partnership “great,” noting how much time they’ve spent together both on and off the field.
“It’s good,” Higbee said Wednesday. “The more reps, the more stuff you can get together, the better chance you have growing that chemistry.”
“Anytime you can get out there and get those reps with the quarterback and get that timing down — you look at guys like Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, it’s almost like automatic every time they hook up on the field,” Higbee added. “So the better chemistry that I can have, that the other receivers can have in this offense, the more it’ll help our offense.”
Wednesday was the second time the Rams’ offense had seen the Chargers’ defense in the last five days, and as such the playbook seemed to open up a bit more. Both Goff and Higbee acknowledged there were more downfield passing attempts, with the seam-route connection between the two of them one of the successful plays.
“You’ve got a good idea of what they’re doing now seeing them one time a few days ago, so yeah, we made some good plays on them,” Goff said.
There was one downfield pass, however, that didn’t quite work as planned. During a two-minute drill, Higbee was open down the left seam and Goff fired a strong pass to him. But it hit off the tight end’s hands and fell incomplete.
Higbee was visibly frustrated with himself after the play, and said as much after practice.
“That’s the offense — whenever they call my number, whenever I’m getting open, he puts it there, I’m expecting myself and they expect me to make a play,” Higbee said. “It’s something I expect to have, and I’ll fix it and get it better.”
By and large, Higbee has been a reliable target for Goff from the offseason program into training camp. And with the way head coach Sean McVay tends to feature tight ends in his offense, he’s primed for a significant production increase in his second season.
And that’s something Goff will facilitate through the partnership between the two players.
“I’m excited to see what he can do this year,” Goff said. “He’s our starter this year, and expect him to do some big things.”