At some point, he can’t keep playing at that level at this age, can he?
That was the question NFL Network’s Mike Mayock asked of GM Les Snead about Los Angeles Rams LT Andrew Whitworth. It was a question that we all know exists, but try not to think about especially after the season the Rams just had.
A winning season with 11 victories. A division title. Playoffs. It was success that got everyone excited about the future. This team is just getting started.
Most of them at least...
The privilege of having Whitworth on the team—and C John Sullivan—will end. And quite possibly very soon.
Sullivan is scheduled to hit free agency this offseason. Whitworth is under contract for another two seasons, but time and chance come to us all. There is no guarantee he will see the end of that contract.
At the Senior Bowl, Mayock spoke with Snead about a variety of topics: the offensive line and Whitworth’s schedule among them. Snead spoke at length about the impact of Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kromer and the veteran impact of Whitworth and Sullivan had on the offensive line—which was nearly the same as 2016’s squad which, for lack of a better term, sucked to high hell.
LG Rodger Saffold was a prime example of the impact the veteran leadership had across the line. Saffold was potential wasting away in 2016. In 2017, he was a living bulldozer and a Pro Bowl snub. RT Rob Havenstein rebounded, as did RG Jamon Brown. RB Todd Gurley doesn’t see the success he had this year without the offensive line’s renaissance.
The Rams have a short timetable to get the young talent through their doors to learn from Whitworth . The tutelage of Kromer is as good as the Rams have seen from their offensive line coaches, but the impact of veterans is just as invaluable.
They give the younger guys hands-on experience and teach them how to play the game. How to overcome difficult obstacles that come with playing the position as basically a second coach.
Whitworth is a genetic freak. Snead said he told the team that he feels good and wants to continue to play:
You watch him practice, you watch him play—you don’t see a drop off.
Whitworth is like Mary Poppins. In the short amount of time that he has with the younger players, he will try and teach them all he can before he flies away using an umbrella.
For the sake of the team’s success down the line, we can only hope that his teachings will stick.