Meet the Rams: A game of musical chairs awaits the offensive line
As the Rams get to work at training camp at UC Irvine, we’ll take a look at the team’s roster, position by position. Today, the offensive line:
There’s a special place for the biggest players on an NFL roster: the offensive line.
Once the rosters are set, the Rams’ starting line will likely average over 6-feet-4 in height and weigh about 321 pounds each.
The bigger the better when it comes to protecting a quarterback, or instilling your will in the run game.
As coaches like to say: “You can’t teach size.”
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Last year, the Rams gave up the fewest sacks (18), though they also ran the fewest plays.
At the same time, the offensive line created holes in the defense big enough for rookie running back Todd Gurley to sprint for 1,106 yards. But Gurley wasn’t the only rookie involved.
Rookie linemen made 31 of the team’s 80 offensive line starts in 2015.
No. 76 RT/LG Rodger Saffold, 6-foot-5, 332 pounds
Saffold, 28, was a second-round pick out of Indiana in 2010. In six seasons, he’s started 65 of the 68 games he’s appeared in for the Rams.
Saffold has made starts at both guard and tackle positions. He was expected to re-take the starting job at left guard after losing most of last season to a shoulder injury.
However, with second-year pro Rob Havenstein out with a foot injury, Saffold will play on the other side at right tackle.
Saffold is under contract through the 2018 season despite agreeing to terms on a five-year deal with the Raiders in 2014. Then, the lineman failed a physical with Oakland and returned to the Rams where he was re-signed.
No. 73 LT Greg Robinson, 6-foot-5, 323 pounds
Robinson, 23, is already entering his third season in the league out of Auburn.
As a rookie, Robinson started as a backup, became the starter at left guard and then had to move to left tackle when Jake Long went down with an injury.
The former No. 2 overall pick started at left tackle all 16 games last season, but he was the second-most penalized player.
Robinson was flagged 16 times for assorted offenses including holding, false starts and a chop block.
No. 79 RT Rob Havenstein, 6-foot-7, 321 pounds
Havenstein, 24, started at right tackle in all 13 of the games he played in last season.
The second-round pick out of Wisconsin was consensus first-team All-Big 10 his senior season in 2014.
Havenstein headed into training camp as the incumbent starter at right tackle and ended up getting put on the PUP list because of a foot injury.
Coach Jeff Fisher has described his status as “week to week [or] day-to-day,” according to the team’s website.
No. 68 RG/LG Jamon Brown, 6-foot-4, 323 pounds
Brown, 23, made nine starts as a rookie, switching between both guard spots.
The former third-round pick out of Louisville suffered a broken leg during Week 9 against the Chicago Bears while trying to make a tackle.
No. 69 LG Cody Wichmann, 6-foot-5, 319 pounds
Wichmann, 24, will take Saffold’s place at left guard while the veteran is covering for the injured Havenstein at right tackle.
Wichmann, a sixth-round pick out of Fresno State in 2015, got starts at both guard positions as a rookie.
Other offensive linemen: No. 61 C Tim Barnes, No. 71 LG Garrett Reynolds, No. 66 LG David Arkin, No. 64 RT Andrew Donnal, No. 67 C Brian Folkerts, No. 60 C Eric Kush, No. 72 LT Pace Murphy, No. 65 RG Demetrius Rhaney, No. 77 LT/RT Isaiah Battle, No. 63 LT Darrell Williams
Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme
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