THOUSAND OAKS – Tuesday marked the first time since his hiring that Rams coach Sean McVay could be on the practice field for a full-team scrimmage. McVay might have set foot on every blade of grass.
The energetic, fast-talking McVay, the youngest coach in NFL history when the Rams hired him in January, was everywhere. Early in the mini-camp practice, McVay tossed footballs with defensive backs. Later, he sprinted across the field to track receivers during a drill.
“It was great,” McVay said after the practice at Cal Lutheran. “You’re quickly reminded why you love coaching so much. The effort and energy was outstanding.”
The three-day mini-camp is part of the Rams’ OTA program, which started this month and will continue into June, although McVay also is actively involved with preparations for the draft, which starts Thursday.
The Rams’ hiring of a new coach afforded them the chance to host a voluntary mini-camp. According to McVay, all players were accounted for, although some, such as linebacker Mark Barron and safety Maurice Alexander, were kept off the field because of injury issues.
“It went a lot better than a lot of us thought it would,” quarterback Jared Goff said. “There weren’t many hiccups. On the first day, you expect there to be some re-dos and stuff you have to do over and talk about. For the most part, it went really smoothly and I was really happy with it.”
Goff, not surprisingly, remains a focus for the Rams. A year after he learned the system of previous Coach Jeff Fisher and offensive coordinator Rob Boras, now he’s being asked to learn a new system and work with a new group of coaches.
Goff said he has enjoyed the feedback from his quarterback-focused coaches, also including offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Greg Olson, and McVay praised Goff’s first day of mini-camp.
“I thought he did a nice job, just being able to manage the huddle,” McVay said. “Get in and out, get lined up, call the plays properly, get some of the communication pre-snap that’s necessary. And then I think you saw him sit in there and make some good throws.”
It’s been almost one full year since the Rams made Goff the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, a move that started a whirlwind season. Goff started off as the Rams’ No. 3 quarterback, then took over as starter midseason, went winless in seven starts and got battered behind a struggling Rams offensive line.
Asked to reflect about the draft process, Goff didn’t exactly sound nostalgic about the crush of attention.
“I feel bad for these kids,” Goff said. “Even talking to some of these quarterbacks, I’m like, ‘I feel you. Just make it through it.’ It’s not fun, but ultimately it’s worth your while.”
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