With the NFL owners meetings taking place in Phoenix, Arizona this week, it gives the media an opportunity to sit down and talk with coaches and general managers around the league.
NFL Network’s Steve Wyche talked with Los Angeles Rams’ general manager Les Snead and one of the questions during the interview focused around newly acquired left tackle Andrew Whitworth. When asked what Whitworth brings to the table and where he may play, Snead said:
He’s definitely there (at left tackle). I think you hit the nail on the head. Important for two reasons. Short term, if Andrew plays the way he has the last couple of seasons, the left tackle position becomes a position of strength for us. That’s short-term. I think long-term. Us being a young team, we’ve been the youngest team in the NFL, or one of them, for the last five years. Bringing in a guy like “Whit”, proven veteran, proven leader, a lot of experience can help our young offenders and defenders and our young quarterback. Because “Whit” will tell you he was apart of, when they (Cincinnati Bengals) transitioned from Carson (Palmer) to Andy Dalton. He brings a lot of wisdom to our young bunch. I think those are going to be dividends that will be long-term more than the short-term one.
(You can watch the full interview here.)
Since the departure of Orlando Pace, the Rams have had a gaping hole at the left tackle position. Jeff Fisher and Snead had hoped to fill that hole with Greg Robinson in 2014 after they drafted him out of Auburn with the No. 2 overall pick, but instead Robinson has been one of the worst left tackles in the league.
As Snead says, at 35 years of age, Whitworth at the very least solidifies the left tackle position for the next year or two. Long-term, however, the signing of Whitworth could be a game-changer.
Since being drafted, Robinson hasn't had that veteran guy on the offensive line to lean on. He hasn’t had that guy he could look up to. That may not be one of the many reasons for Robinson’s struggles, but not having that veteran presence certainly hasn't helped his case.
Whitworth may be 35, but what he brings to the locker room will be invaluable. McVay seems to know the type of players he wants, and having Whitworth - a veteran guy in the league to institute that mindset - is big.