THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- A growing sense of ownership was apparent.
A year after Goff first practiced under coach Sean McVay, the Los Angeles Rams quarterback appeared at ease directing the offense as the Rams opened the latest phase of their offseason program.
“He truly is becoming that extension of the coaching staff that you hear us refer to,” McVay said after the workout, adding, “I think in terms of the command and really taking a great grasp of the offensive system and kind of understanding the intent of everything that we’re trying to get done.”
Goff, 23, spent much of last year’s offseason at McVay’s side as he tried to comprehend a new system. And there were stories during the season about McVay using the helmet radio system to help Goff call audibles.
But this offseason has a different feel for Goff, a third-year pro.
“Definitely more comfortable,” Goff said. “Any time you can be in the same offense more than a year, you know what you’re talking about and so you can kind of be confident in having an opinion and being able to correct things. You have confidence in that because you know what you’re talking about to an extent of being in it for more than one year.”
Cooks, who the Rams acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots last month, benefited from Goff’s knowledge and instruction quickly after his arrival in Los Angeles.
“You talk about a guy that’s a natural-born leader, who works hard throughout this offseason, throwing with each other before this all started,” Cooks said. “Now transitioning into OTAs I think has been great for all the receivers.”
Transition and change became the norm for Goff after the Rams selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, and this offseason will be no different.
Goff has a new quarterbacks coach and pass-game coordinator, but the adjustment is expected to be minimal compared with previous experiences.
As a rookie, Goff completed 54.6 percent of his passes, throwing for five touchdowns with seven interceptions, largely looking lost in seven winless starts for coach Jeff Fisher before Fisher was fired with three weeks remaining in the season.
In stepped McVay, who was hired for his offensive acumen and his ability to develop quarterbacks, notably Kirk Cousins with the Washington Redskins. McVay spent the offseason installing an offense that catapulted the Rams from the lowest-scoring team, averaging 14.0 points per game in 2016, to the highest in 2017, averaging 29.9.
And Goff seems to have benefitted more than anyone else on the team.
In his second season, Goff passed for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns, with seven interceptions, while raising his completion percentage nearly eight points to 62.1 percent. He led the Rams to their first winning season since 2003, a NFC West division title and their first playoff appearance in 12 years.
“Any time that you’re able to have a certain level of success, that gives you some confidence,” McVay said.
Goff said the transition to yet another position coach and coordinator this offseason has gone smoothly.
Former assistant receivers coach Zac Taylor, who worked with Ryan Tannehill as the Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach from 2012 to 2015 and was the offensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati, has taken over as quarterbacks coach for Greg Olson, who was named offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. Shane Waldron, the tight ends coach, is the new pass-game coordinator with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer coordinating the run game.
Taylor is Goff’s third quarterbacks coach in three season. Chris Weinke, who had no previous NFL coaching experience, coached quarterbacks in 2016.
“It’s two guys that were already on the staff so we have relationships so it’s not been much of a transition getting to know them,” Goff said of Taylor and Waldron, adding, “These guys just bring their own style to it.”
Later on during that first, full-team practice, Goff completed an intermediate throw, after which McVay said: “I told you that would open up like a dream.”
Then after Cooks’ long reception, McVay chased down Goff and offered an excitable high-five.
Goff returned the gesture as he continued to peer down field, an evolving dynamic between coach and quarterback.
“As time goes on that will continue to build,” Goff said of his ownership of the offense. “Through last year and the offseason it has already, and today was a good example of that, just kind of us bouncing stuff off each other. Me asking him questions and him asking me questions and continuing to grow together.”