Despite his status as one of the oldest NFL offensive lineman, LA Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth is playing like he’s in his prime
The LA Rams brought back venerable offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth for another three-year run with the team as the starting left tackle. As the offseason began, we explored what options did the Rams truly have for their left tackle position. We concluded that, for better or worse, the Rams had no alternative. They had to bring back Whitworth.
Of course, when a player is nearly 39 years old and at one of the most physically demanding positions of the NFL, you would expect age to impact performance somewhat. And yes, it has. Perhaps not in the way you might expect, though. You see, after six games, Whitworth is performing at one of the best levels of his lengthy career.
With a little help from his friends
Per Pro Football Focus, he is the best offensive tackle in the NFL. And for all intents and purposes, he is having a helluva year.
Highest-graded OL by position:
C – Corey Linsley – 88.4
G – Wyatt Teller – 94.4
T – Andrew Whitworth – 90.1 pic.twitter.com/AFEmNVe3GX
— PFF (@PFF) October 23, 2020
Of course, the Rams have learned a thing or two from 2019. The Rams have learned to help offensive tackles by chipping pass rushers with tight ends as they run their routes. And the team has learned to shorten routes to help blockers protect Jared Goff. Finally, quarterback Jared Goff has become a bit more elusive in the pocket. Per PFF, Whitworth has not allowed a single quarterback sack and has been flagged for four penalties so far this season. A year ago, he only allowed one sack while getting flagged 14 times as he was the best offensive lineman for the team.
Time will eventually catch up
Now, this is not to say that the Rams are set at the left tackle position for years to come. Whitworth is incredible this year for the team, but the Rams need to have his protege up to speed to fill in when needed. In the meantime, Whitworth keeps chuggling along, playing some of the best football in his career.
But he is not just playing great, he is mentoring younger players. He’s taking young offensive linemen under his wing to help coach them up. And he’s working with the Rams young edge rushers as well, helping them to improve their craft. He’s seen so much, experienced so much. Now he is sharing just as much. Andrew Whitworth is having a helluva season, yes. But he’s also having a helluva lot of fun at the same time.