McCollum as a backup shows Rams' line depth
By Jeff Gordon
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
In recent years, the Rams have had to scramble to fill offensive line holes. The team had to lure players out of retirement and troll practice squads, looking for emergency fill-ins.
This year is different. This year, the Rams have such offensive line depth that center Andy McCollum, one of the franchise’s front-line fixtures, will have to settle for a back-up role -- if he even makes the team.
This is a great sign for the Rams . . . but not such good news for McCollum. He made an impressive comeback from knee surgery, only to lose the spot to Brett Romberg -– who finished last season as the starting center.
McCollum, 37, wasn’t thrilled when coach Scott Linehan gave him the word.
“I got a little pep talk from my friend Adam (Timmerman) yesterday,” McCollum said. “He told me he was willing to come over and beat somebody up for me . . . Just kidding. He reminded me what really matters.”
Still, the demotion stings.
“I’m not happy about it,” McCollum said. “I’m still not happy about it. I’d rather be on the field. Any player, competitor, would say that.”
Fortunately for the team, the last surviving Donut Brother seems to be saying and doing all the right things. He realizes the offensive line gets beat up during the course of a season.
Like Todd Steussie, McCollum could provide veteran depth at two positions. Last season, both Steussie and Adam Goldberg had to play significant roles on the team.
The Rams love their young starters Mark Setterstrom, Richie Incognito and Alex Barron, but they could also benefit from having versatility and experience on the roster.
Post-Dispatch reporter Jim Thomas reminded McCollum that he bailed the Rams out at guard in 2003.
“Yeah, ’03 seems a long time ago,” McCollum said. “They haven’t told me anything about guard, I feel real comfortable at center and I like working at center.”
Linehan rewarded Romberg for his outstanding offseason and training camp. The Rams staff prefers big and physical centers, so Romberg worked hard to add weight and strength.
His increased size, strong preseason showing and relative youth (he’s 27) helped him get the starting assignment.
“He’s been doing pretty well, too,” McCollum said. “Like I said, maybe it’s the young guy and the old guy and wanting to give him a shot in there and give him some experience.
“You have to look at their point of view, how they’re seeing it for the future. I’m only a month or two older than him, right?”
McCollum laughed. But he was still hurting.
Coming all the way back from knee surgery was difficult, something many players his age would not have tried.
“I think I played pretty well in the preseason games,” he said. “Obviously it’s my opinion, but I think I played good enough to earn that job. Like I said, it’s not my call, it’s his call. Now I’ve got to make sure I’m ready when I need to be in there.
“I’m feeling pretty good. The knee feels great. I haven’t had the slightest problem with that coming back. I’m anxious to get out there. I’ve had a chance on the field during these preseason games and I’ve enjoyed it. I know at some point during this season, I assume there will be a chance for me to get out there. It’s hard for guys to make it through the whole year without getting dinged up.”
McCollum has the scars to prove it. From this corner in cyberspace, we recommend he Rams keep McCollum even though several Rams linemen can play center in a pinch.
By keeping McCollum, this team could find strength in numbers.
Re: McCollum as a backup shows Rams' line depth
if the rams do cut mccollum it would be a slap in the face period....