What to make of the St. Louis Rams interest in former Green Bay, Houston, etc. RB Ahman Green?
Green's 32-years-old and has an injury history sheet capable of bumping doctors up an income bracket or two. With that, I don't think Green's being viewed as a possible solution at backup running back, at least not as a true #2. For that job, the Rams have a good competition going between Sakmon Gado and Antonio Pittman, both younger and speedier than Green. If they wanted a veteran RB as a number two guy, Edgerrin James would make more sense, anyway.
Their flirtation with Ahman Green is likely more about finding a pass blocker in the backfield, an experienced and expert player at picking up the blitz.
Our own CoachConners mentioned this in the comments to today's Random Ramsdom post:
Wasn’t Ahman Green one of the best blocking backs in football when he played with Brett?
Brett Favre seemed to think so. Here's a quote from the un-retired one from back in the 2000 season, from Ahman Green's own web site nonetheless:
His pass blocking, which most people wouldn't notice, was as good as I have seen by a back in this offense. Several times it was guys he didn't have to pick up, he just kind of felt the guy coming.
That was from Mike Sherman's days as the GB head coach, Sherman being a West Coast offense disciple himself. There's some good information about Green and pass blocking in that style offense in the article posted on Green's site. To wit:
Such instinctive play is important for Green. He must know when to stay in and pass protect, sometimes cutting off play-action to one side to pick up a blitzer on the other side. If there is no blitz, Green must get out into his route quickly and be prepared to receive a pass even before Favre throws it.
All of these decisions, of course, must be made before the play begins and are subject to change because of audibles or defensive adjustments. Getting to the point where all of the information is processed quickly and reactions are made instinctively takes time.
If the Rams are suddenly concerned about Darby as third down, situational back - and they recently bumped him down on the depth chart, according to reports in the press - it wouldn't be a stretch to bring in Green to play a very limited role, albeit an important one, in the Rams offense. They can't afford to lose a QB this year, and with a rookie RT pass blocking in the backfield will be especially important. Don't think opponents won't take notice of what happened when the Jets overloaded the right side and sent six men.
[Note by VanRam, 08/20/09 11:37 AM EDT ] More on Green as a third down back...
He can definitely catch passes...or he could anyway, depending on how you view the situation. During his seven seasons in Green Bay's West Coast offense, he caught 347 passes, averaging almost 50 catches per season. The only season he had fewer than 40 receptions was 2005 when injuries limited him to 5 games. As you'll correctly note, that was then, this is now. The Rams don't need a guy to catch 50 passes out of the backfield; that's what Steven Jackson is there for. This merely points to the fact that Green's no stranger to moving into open ground as an a last-ditch option for the QB.