IRVINE — For most of the offseason, the Rams believed they had discovered the correct mix on their offensive line. Now, with less than five weeks until the regular-season opener, they want to verify.
In a brief, breezy practice Sunday afternoon at UC Irvine, the Rams switched up their line and flipped Jamon Brown, who went to right guard, and Rob Havenstein, who went to right tackle. Coach Sean McVay indicated the Rams would explore that new look at practices throughout this week.
“Just like we always do, we’re really just trying to figure out the best combination, in terms of how we want to do things,” Coach Sean McVay said after practice. “I think we feel really good about what Jamon and Rob have done on that right side, but with Rob’s history playing tackle and Jamon’s history playing guard, we also want to have contingency plans in place, if one of them were to go down.”
It’s not really a new look. Brown and Havenstein have played the bulk of their respective NFL careers at guard and tackle, respectively, and in one of the Rams’ most productive offensive games last season, at Detroit, they started next to each other in those roles.
It is, however, a departure from the Rams’ offseason program, when things appeared to be settled.
The first domino fell in March, when the Rams signed veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth. That sent oft-maligned Greg Robinson to right tackle, which sent Havenstein to right guard.
Then, after the Rams demoted (and later traded) Robinson, they moved Brown, a former part-time starter at guard, to right tackle. It was a curious choice, given that Havenstein had thrived at right tackle as a rookie in 2015, but the Rams seemed pleased with the development of both players at new positions.
There’s a chance that this only is a short-term experiment, but given that the Rams open their preseason schedule Saturday against Dallas at the Coliseum, it’s an interesting time to experiment. The Rams practice Monday, have an off day Tuesday, then scrimmage against the Chargers on Wednesday.
“This was something we had talked about as a staff last week,” McVay said. “We just didn’t want to make that move before the practice (against the Chargers on Saturday), but I think we’ll get an opportunity over the next couple days to explore those guys playing guard and tackle, and see how they do when we practice against the Chargers on Wednesday.
“So I think it will give us an opportunity, as we’re moving…