The Los Angeles Rams, as they usually have under head coach Sean McVay, sat virtually all their starters during their first preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on Saturday.
While many top veterans might not see much game exposure until Week 1 of the regular season, McVay and offensive line coach Aaron Kroemer might want to get left guard Joe Noteboom and center Brian Allen, both first-year starters, some preseason game action before then.
Noteboom, in his second year out of TCU, has a huge void to fill as he takes over for longtime left guard Rodger Saffold, who signed with the Tenessee Titans in free agency. Allen, also in his second year, is set to take over for John Sullivan, who was cut after the Rams’ Super Bowl loss in February.
Whether the Rams do give their younger linemen any time on the field in a preseason has yet to be determined, as McVay told Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
– Given the week LG Joe Noteboom and C Brian Allen had, McVay said it made the most sense for both to rest against the Raiders. However, said it was an "ongoing evaluation" when deciding if they will get reps in a preseason game.
— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) August 12, 2019
Noteboom and Allen both got playing time throughout the 2018 season. Noteboom was one of the first linemen off the bench, playing in every single regular season and postseason game for the Rams. Allen saw action in 13 regular-season games and all three playoff contests.
They will likely join veteran tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein along with fellow second-year player Austin Blythe among the Rams’ 2019 offensive line starters.
That group will be tasked with protecting one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL, led by quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley, the latter of whom will be monitoring an arthritic knee that severely limited him in late 2018 and into the playoffs.
The Rams lost 14-3 to the Raiders in their preseason opener, and many of their veterans did not even make the trip up to Oakland for the game. Several Rams also figure to stay behind when the Rams travel to Hawaii this weekend for a game against the Dallas Cowboys as well.