Okay, so maybe I’m fishing with that headline, but when the league announced Los Angeles Rams RG Jamon Brown’s two-game suspension for banned substances I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who wondered “Is this guy good enough to miss games for smoking weed?”
Put bluntly, he’s our best option at right guard right now. Despite his ranking as Pro Football Focus’ #38 Guard with a 52.1 rating, Brown started all 16 games last year and returns as the incumbent starter. He struggled mightily in pass protection in 2017 as the the obvious weak link on the offensive line. His suspension adds to the likelihood he will be an unrestricted free agent headed into the 2019 offseason, and it’s possible the Rams will see something in serviceable OL Austin Blythe (roster preview) during Brown’s suspension. At the very least, big Jam cost himself some money with his herbal transgression.
Rams fans can only hope he’s focused heading into his contract year.
While it’s easy to suggest that Brown’s absence might cost him his starting job, the Rams certainly haven’t brought in much competition to suggest so. Blythe will fill in for him against the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals, but it’s highly likely Brown will slide right back in for the next 14 games. Second-year practice squad vet RG Jake Eldrenkamp (roster preview), rookie 2018 NFL Draft sixth-round pick OL Jamil Demby (roster preview) and UDFA Jeremiah Kolone (roster preview) round out the depth at guard.
It’s worth remembering in 2016 though that Brown was the expected starter in 2016 only to be surprisingly rotated with former Rams OL Cody Wichmann. So nothing should be assumed at this point.
Unless Blythe or someone else can unseat him, I expect Brown to start alongside C John Sullivan and RT Rob Havenstein. Was he really as bad as his PFF ranking would suggest? Let’s hope not.
I seem to remember the Rams scoring a lot of points in 2017. I also want to believe that he’s learned from his mistakes and will be an improved player in 2018 under Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator Aaron Kromer.
Chances of Making the Final Roster: (9/10)
He IS making nearly $2 million this season. If he had the munchies during the offseason, looks shaky during the preseason, Blythe outperforms him, or someone cuts loose a good player in the next month, there’s a slim chance Brown could hit the street. However, by all accounts, he’s being given the benefit of the doubt.
Let’s hope he earns it in retrospect as the season passes.