The difference was noticeable if not unexpected during the first Los Angeles Rams practice of the Sean McVay era.
Their rookie head coach, 28 years younger than former coach Jeff Fisher, infused energy into a practice the NFL gave to the Rams by virtue of their new boss (teams with new head coaches are allowed to participate in a mini-camp of practice).
“Since Day 1, they bring a different type of vibe, energy,” outside linebacker Robert Quinn said, according to the Los Angeles Times. That vibe has permeated the Rams’ Thousand Oaks facility, making it easier for the players to buy into his plans to make the Rams a playoff contender.
“It’s an easy thing to do with him standing in front of the room and the confidence he gives out there,” offensive lineman Rob Havenstein said. “He’s very upbeat, very positive and his coaching is excellent.”
The Orange County Register reported that all the players were accounted for during the Rams practice. Linebacker Mark Barron and safety Maurice Alexander did not participate due to injury concerns.
Much of the early attention on the Rams practice focused on second-year quarterback Jared Goff. The 2016 overall No. 1 NFL draft pick already made news before camp by saying he thought the Rams were “a lot closer than people think” to being a contender.
So the first workout would include the same positive attitude.
“It went a lot better than a lot of us thought it would,” Goff said of the first day. “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.”
McVay, in turn, praised his starting quarterback for his play during the initial Rams practice.
“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.”
To be sure, the Rams have a lot of work to do between now and the Sept. 10 season-opener at home against the Indianapolis Colts. But the team, which got a burst of energy last season with the arrival of the first pick of the draft, should benefit more from the culture change McVay will bring to the Rams practice.