Offensive Line Picture Comes Into Focus
Saturday, November 25, 2006
By Nick Wagoner
With right guard Adam Timmerman hampered by a rib injury suffered in Sunday’s game against Carolina, the Rams’ offensive line could feature four players playing different positions or simply just playing for the first time this season in this week’s game against San Francisco.
After sitting out all of Wednesday’s action with bruised ribs, Timmerman returned to the field Thursday and it appears he will keep his streak of consecutive games played in tact. In addition, Timmerman was upgraded from questionable to probable, though it is still undecided whether he will start.
Because of the season-ending injuries to left tackle Orlando Pace and center Andy McCollum, the Rams have been forced to patch together an offensive line full of inexperience. Coach Scott Linehan says he knows that is tough now, but could help in the long haul.
“You’re always concerned with having guys that haven’t played a lot, but I think Paul (Boudreau) does a very good job of getting guys ready to play,” Linehan said. “We’re young in there at this point. That’s what happens when you start having injuries; young players will play, but I think it will pay off for us down the road, these guys getting valuable time now.”
Although the coaching staff has yet to make an official decision on what the offensive line will look like come Sunday, it seems that the choices have been narrowed.
For now, it appears right tackle Alex Barron will stay there. The left tackle spot will be held down by Todd Steussie, who moves there from the left guard spot.
“For right now, that will probably be what we do,” Linehan said. “It just makes sense.”
When Pace suffered a concussion in the first meeting against San Francisco on Sept. 17, Steussie moved over to tackle so the line could look similar to that one.
The interior of the line is more of a question mark.
If Timmerman is unable to play, the Rams would likely start a line that consists of Steussie at left tackle, rookie Mark Setterstrom at left guard, Richie Incognito at center, Goldberg at right guard and Barron at right tackle.
More likely, though, Timmerman will be able to go and hold his spot at right guard with Setterstrom at left guard. Linehan says all three will play, but it’s a safe bet that Setterstrom will get the call as it appears the Rams would like to get the rookie an opportunity.
“Between Setterstrom, Goldberg and Adam (Timmerman), with Adam’s health we will probably play three guards in this game based on a series or two,” Linehan said. “Right now, we have not made the decision as to who is going to start at the inside spots.”
EXPANDING ROLE: Defensive tackle Claude Wroten is the only one of the Rams’ three third-round choices to get any serious playing time this season. When the Rams selected Wroten, they believed they had a first-round talent as a steal in the third round.
Wroten has worked almost exclusively in pass rushing and sub packages this season, but is slowly starting to work his way into the mix on a more regular basis.
“I think we knew his role this year was going to be in the sub package, defensive tackle,” Linehan said. “We play a number of those guys, and he does get a fair number of snaps. If he can maintain his ability to get off the count and pass rush from the interior spot, and be able to hold up better against the run, that will be a big factor for him playing more full time.”
INJURY REPORT: In addition to Timmerman, fullback Paul Smith is the other Ram listed on the injury report.
Smith suffered a hamstring injury against the Panthers and is questionable for this week’s game. Smith did not participate in Wednesday or Thursday’s practice.
“We’ll look at him by Friday and determine whether he will be up or down,” Linehan said. “Right now, he didn’t do a whole lot so it’s hard to say.”
Re: Offensive Line Picture Comes Into Focus
I forgot all about Claude Wroten. I would love to see him in there more. He looked pretty good during the preseason. Just call him 'C-DUB'.
Re: Offensive Line Picture Comes Into Focus
I don't really care who's playing where or when. This is the Whiners, the players better come out fired up!!!! Linehan and Haslett better come out fired up also. I want to see some emotion on the sidelines, that's where it all starts.
:r :l :r :l :r :l :)