Green Revs Up For Starting Job
By Nick Wagoner
For the majority of Brandon Green’s relatively short NFL career, he has been used almost exclusively as a situational pass rusher. In laymen’s terms, Green plays a lot on third down, but not much else.
But, when rookie defensive end Victor Adeyanju suffered a broken forearm against San Francisco last week, Green instantly went from valuable role player to even more valuable starter opposite Leonard Little.
With his only start in his two seasons as a Ram coming last year against Arizona, it would be easy for Green to be a bit nervous about presumably handling the role for the rest of the year. The laid back Green doesn’t get nervous about much, though and this is no different.
“Not too much of it really takes me like that,” Green said. “Right when I saw Victor come down with his hand, it clicked in my mind that you better get your mind right because you are going to be out there most of the time. Obviously that means starting the next game or whatever so I have been in situations where I have been a starter before; I have been in situations where I don’t even play. I have done the whole deal and I like starting and I like playing so it’s another great opportunity for me and a chance to go out and help.”
So far this season, Green has played in eight games without a start. In those eight games, Green has 15 tackles with half a sack, a play he made against Arizona in the teams’ first meeting on Sept. 24.
Now, the responsibility of starting falls into Green’s lap. Nobody will ever question Green’s relentless energy and effort, but at 264 pounds, Green has long been considered too small to be an every down player.
Head coach Scott Linehan isn’t worried about how Green fits in, though. Linehan called Green’s four-tackle, one pass defended performance against the ***** his best of the season and says he likes the relentless energy that Green brings to the defense.
“Brandon plays, as we always say, with a great motor,” Linehan said. “(He) has great energy (which) makes up for maybe his lack in size or speed, or any of those things, with the intangible quality of always playing full speed. He’s hard to block because of that. He doesn’t always match up as good as maybe a prototype defensive end, but he always creates an advantage for himself by staying after guys with great technique, and plays through the whistle.
“We need a little bit of an energizer out there when it comes to how they play. Not so much what they bring to the table physically, but what he can bring to the table with his effort, as well as his physical skills. He has physical skills, but he adds to the part of the game that you can’t really put down on a measurable. That’s just a lot of heart. That’s what we’re going to need down the stretch. Guys playing the way Brandon plays.”
Green will need all of that energy and effort to be a difference maker down the stretch. Green has never been asked to hold up against the run, an area Adeyanju excelled in and an area where the Rams have been struggling.
Still, Green is excited about the opportunity to make a difference every down.
“Down and distance you can only play so much but whenever you are out there on first and second down or third and short, you know a lot of times what is coming so you have to buckle up for the run,” Green said. “Every defensive lineman likes to rush the passer, but you have to be consistent in the run game too. It’s something I like to take pride in and help contribute there to free up our linebackers and let them run around and make plays. It definitely doesn’t bother me. When you play good on the run that gives you a chance to do what you really like to do.”
Pass rushing has been Green’s forte and he could provide a boost in that area, an area where Little has been the Rams’ main source of pass rush. Anything Green can do to take some of the heat off of the oft-double teamed Little would go a long way in helping the defense get after the quarterback.
And Green won’t be alone in his pursuit from the end position. The Rams will likely have Eric Moore active and in the rotation and rookie tackle Claude Wroten will be helping out on the outside.
Wroten has spent some time at end when the Rams go to their 3-4 defense and played some in the 4-3 against the *****. This week, he is working back outside and learning the nuances of the position, a spot he has played only sparingly in his career.
“I played one game at defensive end in college against the Florida Gators,” Wroten said. “I did play a couple of games in college so it will be an easy transition for me. You have to make more reads than being at defensive tackle. You have to be knowledgeable of the quarterback situation more so than if you were inside.”
That’s why Green is spending this week of practice refining his pass rush technique and preparing himself to help against the run, especially with Arizona’s Edgerrin James coming to town.
“I feel like I am ready for the challenge,” Green said. “I have always felt like I am capable of going up there and playing against the run. It’s a challenge every week no matter who you play. If they have a couple of different schemes and stuff, you have to get to know the offense, know your schemes and go out and play fast and hopefully disrupt some things back there.”
Re: Green Revs Up For Starting Job
Brandon is considered undersized to play the run?? Adeyanju excells at stopping the run?? Green is listed at 264 lbs, and big Victor is listed at 270 lbs. According to my fuzzy math, that comes out to a six pound difference. The guy that Victor would have been lining up against (Leonard Davis) is 6' 6" and weighs 366 lbs (and 366 is charitable folks) I don't think either Victor or Brandon would have much success "bull rushing" Leonard D. If anything being light and quick with a great motor could be a combination that will give big Leonard fits if our offense can score enough points to force the Cards into having to throw alot. Should be an interesting game ...