OXNARD, Calif. (AP) — After months of pre-draft preparations leading to a memorable night in Chicago, Jared Goff is finally getting to do what he loves most with his fellow newcomers to the Los Angeles Rams.
The No. 1 pick in the NFL draft went through his first practice alongside the Rams’ rookies and undrafted free agents at the coastal temporary training base Friday. Although the Rams didn’t do much at full speed, their new quarterback was simply grateful to be in a helmet instead of a suit, and on a field instead of in a classroom.
“It was nice to get out here,” Goff said after practice. “Get running around, get to sweat a little bit, throw the ball around, play catch.”
Goff capped off a day of meetings and studying with two hours of deliberate practice. The Rams are still a month away from any full-squad workouts, but Goff intends to use the weekend as an opportunity to begin building chemistry with the fleet of rookie pass-catchers acquired along with him last weekend.
Goff has plenty of work to do before he suits up with the veterans during organized team activities next month. He is already hard at work on learning the Rams’ offense, realizing he’ll need every minute of experience if he hopes to fulfill coach Jeff Fisher’s goal for him to start the season opener.
“It’s almost like you’re learning a different language,” Goff said. “It’s like you’re going into Spanish class. You have to become fluent in Spanish over however long a time it is. There’s a lot of stuff that translates, that I kind of understand that it’s a different word, and there’s lots of stuff that I’m learning. Today it went really well. I felt like I picked it up as the day went on and got better.”
Along with the entire Rams’ playbook, he is always working on improving his technique under center after a college career spent in the shotgun at California. Goff took plenty of snaps under center in his first practice, but the finer points of the skill will be tested later.
Goff intends to prove he doesn’t lack basic NFL skills because of his background in Cal coach Sonny Dykes’ Bear Raid offense.
“There is a lot that translates,” Goff said. “Most of the (shotgun) stuff translates, all of it. There’s under-center stuff that I’m picking up as I go, and it’s gone really well so far.”
Goff’s teammates haven’t yet seen the full strength of his arm, but fellow rookie draft picks Tyler Higbee and Pharoh Cooper are eager to catch plenty of passes from him. Goff and Cooper exchanged excited texts about their future during the week between the draft and the rookie camp.
“You want to just be the guy you are and the person you are, to be the leader of my rookie class, per se,” said Goff, who plans to “just work as hard as I can, make everyone buy in and just be a good teammate and be the best player I can be.”
Goff is just downstate from his native Bay Area, but receiver Nelson Spruce is even closer to home. The undrafted free agent signee is from Westlake Village, California, a short drive from the Rams’ temporary offseason headquarters in Oxnard and just a few minutes from their more permanent regular-season training home in Thousand Oaks.
Spruce, the Colorado product who became the Pac-12’s career receptions leader last season, already had a connection with Goff before the rookie camp. They worked out together before the NFL combine, already building up a rapport.
“I’ve been throwing with him for a couple of months,” Spruce said. “I think he’s the guy that’s going to lead this entire organization, so I’m excited to see what he does. … Any little advantage I can get, I’m going to take. That little chemistry I have is going to pay off, especially at the beginning.”