Rams rookie coach Sean McVay finally gets on the field with his team for a practice

Rams coach Sean McVay speaks at a news conference on March 2 at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press )

A year ago this week, Rams quarterback Jared Goff was a few days from learning his fate in the NFL draft. Sean McVay was a Washington Redskins assistant.

On Tuesday, McVay oversaw his first full-team workout as coach of the Rams, closely monitoring Goff’s grasp of a new playbook and system.

“It went a lot better than, maybe, a lot of us thought it would,” Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, said after the first day of a three-day minicamp in Thousand Oaks. “There weren’t many hiccups.”

The Rams, like all NFL teams, have completed a few weeks of voluntary offseason workouts, which are strictly limited. Offensive players, for example, cannot work against defensive players for several weeks.


But the collective bargaining agreement allows teams with new coaches to hold a voluntary minicamp, so McVay was eager to be on the field with his entire roster.

The Rams held a morning walk-through and afternoon practice.

McVay, Washington’s offensive coordinator the last three seasons, appeared comfortable interacting with offensive and defensive players and coaches.

“I was telling our secondary coaches on the back end, I said, ‘I got to get used to being happy for the defense on a good play, too,’” he said.


McVay, 31, has been charged with turning around a franchise that finished 4-12 in 2016 and has not been to the playoffs since 2003.

Goff is his biggest project. The former California star struggled in his seven winless starts last season while attempting to operate in the NFL’s worst offense.

McVay was pleased with Goff’s work Tuesday.

“Just being able to manage the huddle, get in and out, get lined up, call the plays properly, get some of the communication pre-snap that’s necessary,” McVay said. “Then, I think you saw him sit in there, make some good throws.”

Goff is getting instruction from McVay, offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Greg Olson. So far the message has been consistent, Goff said.

“All three of them bring something to the table that’s different,” he said. “Sean is … going to have the final say on a lot of stuff. But Matt seems to be a pretty good extension of him and then [Olson] as well.”

Other Rams players who played under former coach Jeff Fisher said they were embracing McVay and the new staff.

“Since Day 1, they bring a different type of vibe, energy,” outside linebacker Robert Quinn said.


McVay has “a great presence” and confidence, and players are buying in, offensive lineman Rob Havenstein said.

“It’s an easy thing to do with him standing in front of the room and the confidence he gives out there,” Havenstein said. “He’s very upbeat, very positive and his coaching is excellent.”

Cornerback Trumaine Johnson noted McVay’s youth.

“He’s young — I’m almost as old as him,” Johnson, 27, joked. “Like I said, a high-energy guy, knows what he’s talking about, good for this team.”

Position switch

Quinn, a two-time Pro Bowl end, is now an outside linebacker/edge rusher in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme.

Quinn said his locker was adorned with information about recently retired DeMarcus Ware, who thrived under Phillips in Dallas and Denver.

“He’s definitely going to be one of, probably the main one I’m going to study,” Quinn said. “Then, I’ll see how the best do it.”

Quinn is accustomed to lining up in a three-point stance with “my hand in the ground.” Now, he will also play from a stand-up position.


The adjustment was “nothing too much,” he said.

“I basically just go and make plays — that’s what they say,” said Quinn, who was sidelined because of injuries for much of the last two seasons. “From Day 1, that’s what they told me. So, I just wipe my hands, and put a smile on my face. It’s time to get back to work.”

On guard

Havenstein, a two-year starter at right tackle, is playing right guard.

The move was part of a domino effect after the Rams signed veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth and coaches decided to move Greg Robinson to right tackle.

“I’m learning,” Havenstein said. “Getting in as much as I can right now, in the classroom, at home, on my own.”

The projected starting offensive line includes Whitworth at left tackle, Rodger Saffold at left guard, John Sullivan at center, Havenstein at right guard and Robinson at right tackle.


Linebacker Mark Barron and safety Maurice Alexander did not participate in the afternoon workout because of shoulder and hip issues, respectively, McVay said…. Lamarcus Joyner, a cornerback his first three seasons, is playing safety.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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