Whenever the business of the NFL resumes, assuming it does, there's a belief that the St. Louis Rams will seek help on the interior line. That was one area of need that the team did not address in the draft last month. Putting that into context with the situation at running back, where the Rams need a solid backup to pair with Jackson, getting tougher and adding more push to the middle of the line would help Jackson and whoever else shares carries with him.
Yesterday, we speculated, again, that the answer for the Rams guard question might already be on the roster in the form of one John Greco. But you have to wonder. Billy Devaney has said before that Greco, who received a third-round restricted free agent tender from the team in February, was a priority for the team.
Former Rams VP for player personnel Tony Softli, now DJ'ing at 101 ESPN, threw some water on that idea yesterday. He said this about Greco:
I was the vice president for the Rams when we drafted Greco. A former tackle in college that lacks foot quickness and athletic ability to play on the edge in the NFL. The natural progression was to move him inside, but he lacks consistent toughness and aggression level along with power and explosion to play on the interior. He has been given many opportunities to become the starter and I feel despite being a great person with no off-the-field issues, Greco lacks the passion for the game and the ability to stay healthy. The Rams need to cut ties and move on.
Lacks passion? I thought the four pillars thing was the only thing keeping him on the roster. The brass at Rams Park must not agree with Softli given that they tendered Greco at the third-round level, his original pick, when they could have extended a tender at the first right of refusal level, a la O.J. Atogwe last year. In our post yesterday cited several opinions that the Rams run blocking was better with Greco getting snaps.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rams move in a different direction at guard, but they clearly have some intention of putting Greco in the mix. When training camp started last year he was first in line until injury cut his August short. Softli does have a point on the staying healthy part. You would think the VP of player personnel would insist his staff check out a player's character, in this case passion for the game, before drafting him.
Softli mentions a few more possibilities, including Tampa Bay OG Davin Joseph, saying:
Good run blocker with attitude and good finish. Has size, strength and explosion with good finish. Would start for the Rams at either guard position.
When the Bucs lost Joseph at the end of November last season, their running game actually got better. In three of their last five game, they topped 150 yards rushing. SBN's Tampa Bay site, Bucs Nation, debunked the idea that Joseph was a top-tier OG by watching a little tape. Here's what they found:
Davin Joseph was the worst Bucs guard by my count, blowing 14 blocks in 11 games started, or 1.3 blown blocks per game.
BN points out that injuries plagued Joseph all last season. Any team handing him an offer sheet is going to have to do its injury homework first.
Part of the key to improving the Rams interior OL will be health. Jason Brown played through knee sprains in 2009, his year with the Rams, and had more trouble with his knees last year that makes you wonder about his play despite not missing a start since joining the Rams. The Rams kept Hank Fraley on the roster over Goldberg after the bye last year because they wanted a backup center. Obviously, they were concerned with Brown.
Finding a guard might be an offseason priority, but the real need is for a player who can play center as well at a high level.