Adding an offensive guard was supposedly a pretty high priority for the St. Louis Rams heading into the draft. At one point in time, it was whispered that they planned to make an OL among their first picks in the draft. The truth is, however, that the need to beef up the right guard position has been a little overstated.
Facing Washington in week three, the first win of the season, the Rams started using a rotation of Adam Goldberg and John Greco. They continued to do that through week eight with a record of 4-2. Don't get too carried away by the win-loss record.
But Greco's run blocking got some votes of confidence throughout the season and into the offseason as a potential starter for the Rams.
Here's Rob Rang right before the draft:
The Rams had their best success running the ball last season when John Greco was sharing time with Adam Goldberg at right guard. But because of some injuries at tackle, the Rams had Renardo Foster active instead of Greco for the final eight games of the season. The running game suffered as Goldberg had to play virtually every snap.
Here's what Pro Football Focus said after week 7:
These past few weeks, Adam Goldberg (+0.1) and John Greco (+3.1) have been splitting time at right guard. Although Goldberg had his best game in weeks, this was the first time that Greco got to see more time than Goldberg - and he showed that he should be the starter. Greco had a great game in run blocking and allowed no pressure at all. He is graded as our No. 4 overall guard despite just 153 snaps - he needs to get more playing time.
Here's PFF summing up Greco's season:
Greco performed impressively when given a chance at guard. In the four games he played over 30 snaps, he had perfect games in pass pro, with his pass blocking grade only marred somewhat by the sack he allowed in just six snaps against Seattle. He proved dominant as a run blocker too, his +7.1 rating grading 7th amongst all guards. Look for Greco to be a starter in 2011.
What's ultimately the solution remains to be seen. They can probably get by just fine with a rotation of Goldberg and Greco. Personally, I think Goldberg brings more value as a swing man, specifically backing up the tackles.
Of course, judging the performance of interior linemen isn't an exact science. Some believe Jason Brown's play suffered last year, as he lost more power battles. Was that a decline in his performance or a cause-effect thing of the issues at guard.?