LA Rams OT Joseph Noteboom out from Andrew Whitworth’s shadow

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

When you play for the Los Angeles Rams, you will always have Hollywood in the back of your mind. I mean, the entire city is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the next star discovery serving coffee at the local diner, or an award-winning script being printed off some antiquated dot-matrix printer.

But in the meantime, there are stories happening in real life that rival the most creative Hollywood scriptwriters, and some of those compelling storylines are playing out within the LA Rams organization. Imagine, a 40-year-old offensive lineman, still vibrant and athletically imposing to play as a starter on the offensive line, finally earning his Super Bowl victory in the last game of his 16-season career?

Retirement for an NFL football player is more than no longer commuting to the practice field to prepare for a football game. In many ways, it’s akin to leaving military service. And all of my brothers and sisters who have served their country for all those years, you know that it’s a culture shock to leave something that 24 by 7 consuming to turn the corner into…

you’re on your own.

Right now, that is the sudden change of life that faces husband Andrew Whitworth, wife Melissa, twins Sarah and Drew, daughter Katherine, and son Micheal.

The LA Rams were not caught unaware of the news. But we will not be certain of just how effective the team was in preparing for the event. You see, the team has clear plans to promote backup offensive lineman Joseph Noteboom to the starting left tackle role. But there is no way to be ‘sure’ how effective that decision will prove to be.

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Sink or swim

In the NFL, no role is quite as ‘sink or swim,’ as that of an offensive lineman. It’s an individual mano e mano type of confrontation on each and every offensive snap. There are no decoys in the trenches. No plays where the team can afford less than 100 percent from that player. But the offensive line is also one of the NFL positional groups that are so very dependent upon communication and coordination.

And all of these factors must be mastered by the player, and the unit, when they step on the football field. The 6-foot-5 321-pound veteran of four NFL seasons will finally have the chance to step into the sunlight and face the onslaught of opposing defenders. Will he prove to be as proficient over the course of his NFL career? Will he prove to be as durable as his mentor? Will he provide the same level of blindside support that veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford needs?

Time will tell. But if you are sitting back expecting an exact duplication that Andrew Whitworth performed at in the LA Rams offensive line? Open your mind a bit. Joseph Noteboom will play the role differently. He will be better in some areas. He may struggle a bit in other areas. But this is, without a doubt, his moment to step out from the shadows and into the sunlight.

Some prefer me to tell you how good Joseph Noteboom will perform as a 17-game starter. But regardless of what I assert, it contains a bit of speculation. We know that the LA Rams coaching staff trusts Noteboom implicitly. We also know that the LA Rams have committed fully to Noteboom. There are no easy ‘Plan B’ options on this roster.

So yes, the future of the LA Rams offensive line has plenty of question marks. But I’m willing to believe that Joseph Noteboom, a young man who had started as the left tackle in eight of the last 33 games for the Rams, is more than capable of doing so in 2022. Joseph Noteboom is the logical successor for Big Whit.

And Andrew Whitworth would not have it any other way.

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