Jared Goff and his new Rams teammates will be getting their bond together at OTAs
He came onto their radar as a possible teammate two weeks before the NFL draft.
Some might have seen Jared Goff when he played in college at California, others not until he walked onto a Chicago stage after he was announced as the No. 1 overall pick.
At the team’s temporary training base in Oxnard, many Rams veterans have exchanged greetings with the young quarterback. Most caught glimpses of him working on the field, usually with other rookies.
On Tuesday, Goff gets to show the entire roster what all the fuss has been about.
After five weeks of workouts mainly conducted by position group, the Rams will come together to begin organized team activities, known as OTAs. Coach Jeff Fisher and his staff will oversee six noncontact practices, which are closed to the public. Media will have access to four of the workouts. A mini-camp also is tentatively scheduled, though Fisher traditionally eschews it.
Running back Todd Gurley, last season’s NFL offensive rookie of the year, defensive lineman Aaron Donald, the 2014 defensive rookie of the year, and punter Johnny Hekker were Pro Bowl selections last season.
Goff has said he intends to keep his head down, work hard and show teammates through his actions that he can be a leader.
“Just kind of stay low and gain their respect,” he said.
His new teammates said they anticipated Goff would help a team that is among the youngest in the league.
The Rams finished with a record of 7-9 last season and ranked last in the NFL in passing offense. They have not had a winning season since 2003 and have not made the playoffs since 2004.
They traded to the top of the draft and selected Goff to change that.
Many Rams players anticipate rapid development.
Goff began developing a rapport with first-year players during the Rams’ rookie orientation and mini-camp early in the month.
Now he will try to do the same with veterans.
Asked about Goff, left tackle Greg Robinson, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, recalled his first OTAs experience.
“His head is probably spinning trying to get the playbook down pat,” Robinson said. “No. 1. That’s a lot of pressure. . . . He’s the man, so I can just imagine what he’s going through.”
After the free-agent departures of cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Rodney McLeod, cornerback Trumaine Johnson is now the most experienced veteran in the secondary. He said he was ready to lead the unit and looked forward to working against Goff.
“I’m excited for him,” Johnson said. “He’s going to go out there and make plays — and he’s going to make mistakes. That’s what a rookie quarterback does.
“But we drafted him for a reason, to come in here and win games. And I feel like we can win games with him.”
“They thought highly of him and they got him,” Hayes said, “and we’re happy he’s here.”
The Rams’ other quarterbacks are Case Keenum, Nick Foles and Sean Mannion.
Keenum was the presumptive starter going into off-season workouts. He has said that he would continue to compete for the job and also assist Goff and other quarterbacks.
OTAs, Keenum said, provide coaches and players the opportunity to evaluate new and returning players.
“By the end, you kind of have a chance to see maybe who’s got a shot to help us out,” he said. “Through training camp you always get some surprises too.”
Goff is one of six rookie draftees on the roster. The others are receivers Pharoh Cooper and Michael Thomas, tight ends Tyler Higbee and Temarrick Hemingway and linebacker Josh Forrest. There also are more than a dozen undrafted free agents.
The participation status of two players involved in off-the-field incidents remains uncertain.
Running back Tre Mason was arrested in Florida in March and faces misdemeanor drug and driving-related charges in Florida. He has entered a plea of not guilty. Safety T.J. McDonald was arrested this month in Woodland Hills on suspicion of driving under the influence of a substance other than alcohol. A court date is scheduled for Friday.
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