5 OL questions LA Rams must answer before 2021 NFL Draft
By Bret Stuter
A big decision over Big Whit
And so, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. Is Andrew Whitworth capable of another year or two starting at left tackle? While there is no doubt about Big Whit’s dedication and commitment to ensuring that the LA Rams get the best out of him whenever he steps onto the field, the years of playing at one of the most physically-demanding spots on the football team are taking their toll.
Whitworth suffered an MCL injury in week 10 of the 2020 NFL season. While younger players injured against the Seattle Seahawks failed to return, Whitworth pushed himself to be back in time for the NFL Playoffs. How effectively did he play? Some estimates place his return somewhere between 60-80 percent of his full-healthy self.
But now the question becomes at what cost?
Before anyone heads straight to the comments section, let me explain. I love what Andrew Whitworth does for the LA Rams, what he can do for the LA Rams, and how he has poured all that he has onto the field and into the future careers of his young teammates. But as that good friend, I have to pose the most important question of all: When is enough, enough?
There can only be one of three endings to Andrew Whitworth’s career with the LA Rams. Either he will have a great season and choose to retire on a high note. He will have a less-than-hoped-for season, and he will be a salary cap or roster casualty. Or worst of all, he will suffer another injury that will be so devastating that it will end his football career.
In my heart and in my mind, I prefer the first of the three options. That means that the LA Rams must get busy developing and promoting his replacement, or draft one. Joseph Noteboom played rather well off injured reserve at the position during Whitworth’s absence. Is it time to let Andrew Whitworth enjoy his retirement with his family? If not now, then when?