clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jeff Fisher’s Expectations for a Center...and What We’ve Seen Thus Far

New, comments

Who will win the starting center job for the St. Louis Rams, at this point, is anyones guess...

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams, who are annually one of the youngest teams in the NFL, will be fielding a very inexperienced offensive line in 2015.  Aside from Rodger Saffold [27], has 60 NFL starts under his belt.  Projected starters Greg Robinson, Jamon Brown, and Rob Havenstein have combined for 12...all of which belong to Robinson.

As for center, it’s anyone’s guess as to who’ll be snapping the ball to Nick Foles in Week 1.  And the Rams have struggled to find a healthy, viable option at center over the past several years.  They paid Jason Brown big bucks from 2009-2011, then did the same for former Packers’ center Scott Wells, who they just released this offseason.  Yeah...

That leaves a vacancy along the offensive front that’ll be filled by Tim Barnes [27], Barrett Jones [25], or Demetrius Rhaney [23].  They’ve combined for four starts; all of which belong to Barnes.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">When Gurley returns, he will run behind the worst OL in NFL on paper with an all-rookie right side in RG Jamon Brown &amp; RT Rob Havenstein.</p>&mdash; Evan Silva (@evansilva) <a href="https://twitter.com/evansilva/status/626363183087943680">July 29, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The inexperience is garnering attention from some NFL experts...and not the kind you want.  Silva is usually pretty tough on the Rams, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong.  And it’s no secret the Rams’ offensive line has been inconsistent for some time now.

Regardless, Jeff Fisher, Frank Cignetti, Paul Boudreau and company are going to have to select a Week 1 starter, and it’s going to have to be someone who fits their mold.  On Sunday, head coach Jeff Fisher said this about what he looks for in a center...

Well, you know, obviously it’s getting everybody lined up and making the ID calls and making the subtle adjustments on the line of scrimmage, communicating with the quarterback. We have two snaps. We have the shot gun snap and we have the snap under center that are vitally important. They have to be…you know, often times that’s taken for granted. I remember a couple of times last year when (former Rams’ C) Scotty’s (Wells) ball skipped over his head and it cost us the game. So the snap, the exchange thing is very, very important. Then it’s the ability to understand, recognize what they’re doing and make the calls and hang in there in a one-on-one situation. Their ability to help, that’s the most important thing. You know when you’re playing different configurations of fronts, your center is going to be quick to go help at some plays. He needs to be right when he goes to help.

With only three days of camp under their belts, they’ve each gotten an opportunity to take snaps with the starters, which is exactly what they did in OTA’s.  That, obviously, isn’t enough time to determine the starter, and therefore these three will continue to battle it for the remainder of the week - with pads on - and throughout the preseason.

That said, some of the folks that went out to Rams Park this weekend were able to share a little bit of what they saw.  It wasn’t always pretty...

Tim Barnes

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Jakob Brown looked extremely good including one rep vs Fairley. Timmy Barnes getting manhandled <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ramscamp?src=hash">#ramscamp</a></p>&mdash; Jim Fadler (@jimiramsboy) <a href="https://twitter.com/jimiramsboy/status/627228285928235008">July 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">i.e Robinson and Brown are doing great. Barnes and Washington... not so much. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ramscamp?src=hash">#ramscamp</a></p>&mdash; Mike Smith (@MikeSmithFB) <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeSmithFB/status/627233103266734080">July 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Barrett Jones now getting the bulk of the reps at center with the 1&#39;s. I think Barnes only got a few <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ramscamp?src=hash">#ramscamp</a></p>&mdash; Jim Fadler (@jimiramsboy) <a href="https://twitter.com/jimiramsboy/status/627600209493626880">August 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Barrett Jones

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">At center, Barrett Jones took his turn with first team offense. Tim Barnes yesterday which means Demetrius Rhaney next. Same pattern as OTAs</p>&mdash; Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) <a href="https://twitter.com/nwagoner/status/627622703151775744">August 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Brockers getting the best of Jones for the most part Brandon Washington getting destroyed <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ramscamp?src=hash">#ramscamp</a></p>&mdash; Jim Fadler (@jimiramsboy) <a href="https://twitter.com/jimiramsboy/status/627229910315110402">July 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Barrett Jones first gets pushed back to the QB and then can&#39;t keep his feet <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FearForFoles?src=hash">#FearForFoles</a></p>&mdash; Jim Fadler (@jimiramsboy) <a href="https://twitter.com/jimiramsboy/status/627986809109135361">August 2, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Demetrius Rhaney

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">As expected, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rams?src=hash">#Rams</a> gave Demetrius Rhaney his turn at center today. Rotation continues. Fisher said no timetable on when a decision made.</p>&mdash; Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) <a href="https://twitter.com/nwagoner/status/628007955196018688">August 3, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rams?src=hash">#Rams</a> first-team OL today: LT Greg Robinson-LG Rodger Saffold-C Demetrius Rhaney-RG Jamon Brown-RT Rob Havenstein.</p>&mdash; Nick Mensio (@NickMensio) <a href="https://twitter.com/NickMensio/status/627979038338891776">August 2, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/wynnde13">@wynnde13</a> He can take on rusher by himself without help and not get pushed back into the QB</p>&mdash; Jim Fadler (@jimiramsboy) <a href="https://twitter.com/jimiramsboy/status/628030805378371584">August 3, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/JoeRamfan">@JoeRamfan</a> Somebody has to stand up. Rhaney may have the most talent, but he&#39;s probably a year away.</p>&mdash; Jim Thomas (@jthom1) <a href="https://twitter.com/jthom1/status/627625865682161664">August 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

There are plenty of great story lines and position battles to follow throughout the remainder of the offseason, but there may be none more important than who earns the starting job at center.

Who are you hoping wins the job?  And are you concerned with caliber of play that’s apparently being displayed at the onset of training camp?