The first big signing of the Sean McVay era with the Los Angeles Rams was that of left tackle Andrew Whitworth. After spending his career in Cincinnati with the Bengals, Whitworth left for Los Angeles. That signing alone may have changed the trajectory of the franchise. In a matter of one offseason, the Rams moved from a draft bust to the All-Pro and future Hall of Fame player at left tackle.
Whitworth returns to the Rams in what will presumably be his final season before he hangs up the cleats. He’s next in our roster preview series.
Whitworth returned for a second season with the Rams after a disappointing playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons and arguably got better in his second season with the team. The Rams left tackle finished the season as the fourth-best offensive tackle according to Pro Football Focus, and his 86.1 overall grade was six points higher than in 2017.
The 37-year-old tackle started the year strong, saw his play dip in the middle of the season, before finishing strong. Whitworth’s 25 hurries allowed were by far the most in his career as well as his 34 pressures. Despite half of those coming in Weeks 8-11, Whitworth picked up his play to finish the season as after the Bye Week he allowed one sack the rest of the season and that came in the Super Bowl.
Whitworth will anchor the offensive line from the blindside as long as he’s in Los Angeles. The only roster battle to keep an eye on will be the one going on behind him.
Three Plays on Tape
andrew whitworth (rams 77) just kinda stood infront of ansah for an entire game in week 13. whitworth is still really good in case you forgot pic.twitter.com/nNX2Aqeclc
— mansur🕊️ (@MansurShaheen) January 12, 2019
This here is why the Rams signed Whitworth – to protect Jared Goff. In his rookie season, Goff wouldn’t have had this amount of time or the confidence in his offensive line to get this throw off. Whitworth stonewalls the pass rusher and allows Goff to stand calmly in the pocket and throw a touchdown.
Andrew Whitworth has some of the most devastating ability to create #torque in the transverse plane (rotational strength) of any LT in the league. Shows up weekly on tape and blows open the frontside of run plays: pic.twitter.com/dUCo4zvDG2
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) October 23, 2018
The Rams are heavily reliant on their zone running scheme. It’s what sets up their entire offense. Whitworth having the ability to take out defenders almost immediately goes to show just how special and valuable he is to the offense.
Andrew Whitworth's 2-for-1 block was key to the Gurley TD run though Heath was a little out of position on his run fill anyways. pic.twitter.com/WPqn0RjEod
— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) January 13, 2019
This play is a perfect example of how dominant Whitworth is. He immediately takes out the first defender and gets a 2-for-1 block. He has the IQ to get to the second level to block the linebacker, and Todd Gurley does the rest. Gurley scores on this play, but Whitworth set up the entire play.
Can Whitworth hold up for another year?
It was a question in his first year with the team and again last year. It will once again be a question this year. The fact of the matter is, Whitworth is 37-years old and will turn 38 in December. At some point father time takes control. Whitworth has continued to be dominant, but can he do it for 20 more games?
2019 Outlook and Role
2019 could very easily be Whitworth’s final season. He took some time to think about retirement after the Super Bowl loss and decided to return. 2019 could be it. Whitworth will the starting tackle of the Los Angeles Rams and look to get this franchise a Super Bowl trophy.
Chances of Making Final Roster
Yes, just yes. Whitworth will anchor the offensive line from the left side for one more season as he plays out the final year on his contract.