Having completed Phase I of the offseason program, the Rams players and coaches were on the grass for the first time Tuesday for Day 1 of the club's voluntary veteran minicamp.
It's a day head coach Sean McVay has been anticipating since he was hired in January, as it's the first time he's been able to be on the field with his new club.
"You're quickly reminded why you love coaching so much. Getting around these players on the grass and their effort and energy was outstanding," McVay said. "We'll see if we can come back tomorrow with the same type of juice."
The team did its first on-field work with a morning walk-thru before its practice in the afternoon. According to quarterback Jared Goff, the a.m. session felt a bit more like full-speed given the team's enthusiasm for being back on the field.
"It's always that new energy," Goff said. "Today during our walk-thru — we walked-thru this morning at about 11 — and it was basically a run-thru because we're so excited to be out here and [McVay] said, 'Okay guys, slow down, it's just a walk-thru.'"
The positive energy carried into the afternoon for a lively first practice. McVay spent much of the individual drills with the defensive backs, becoming an active participant by throwing passes. It might not be something he does every day, but McVay wanted to get involved on the defensive side.
"I started out with the defensive backs, just to get around them in the beginning in their individual drills," McVay said. "And then during some of those team periods, the nice thing is you can use that walkie and send in the plays offensively, but you can kind of be on the back end, be around the defensive players."
But cornerback Trumaine Johnson joked about getting McVay away from the DBs given his coaching background.
"Actually, he was over there with our DB group throwing the balls, I told him, 'I know you're the head coach,' but he's on the offensive side — he can't be over here with the defense right now," Johnson said with a laugh.
"I was telling our secondary coaches on the back end, I said, 'I've got to get used to being happy for the defense on a good play, too.' But it was great," McVay said.
From an installation standpoint, the Rams appear to be in a good place. Goff said he was particularly impressed by how smooth the afternoon session went.
"It went a lot better than, maybe, a lot of us thought it would," Goff said. "There weren't many hiccups. You come out on the first day and you expect there to be some re-dos and some stuff you have to do over and talk about."
Given the lack of do-overs, Goff said the installation process has gone great so far.
"Obviously someone is doing something right and it starts up top with the coaches and the way that they've installed it," Goff said. "It's obviously stuck in our brain. I know it's only Day 1, but I was very pleased."
The Rams' voluntary minicamp runs three days, from Tuesday to Thursday. McVay said the most important thing he wants to see from the players in these three practices is daily improvement.
"I really think the goal is, for us as a coaching staff, to get a good chance to evaluate our players, their ability to retain some of the information we've taught over the first couple of weeks and then translate it to the grass," McVay said. "We're looking for that daily improvement. We feel like we got better today and we'll see if we can do the same thing tomorrow."