Prior to joining the Los Angeles Rams, left tackle Andrew Whitworth was coming off his second consecutive Pro Bowl for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals had just missed the playoffs for the first time in five years and Whitworth was now a free agent.
Needless to say, many were surprised when the 35-year-old decided to sign with a Rams team that had just come off a miserable 4-12 2016 campaign. During an appearance on The Herd With Colin Cowherd, Whitworth says he saw a tremendous opportunity with Los Angeles once they had hired head coach Sean McVay:
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) November 14, 2017
“When I went into free agency, I honestly thought, ‘I want to look at all the teams and see what my options are [since] I’m obviously at the end of my career and the days are numbered,” Whitworth said. “Really, I saw the Rams as an opportunity as soon as they hired Sean McVay. As a guy, I really thought, ‘Here’s somebody that I would enjoy playing for if it worked out that way.”
Whitworth credited his relationship with Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden for his familiarity with McVay. It is telling the type of impact he was able to have on the veteran left tackle during their brief encounters leading up to the signing.
His gamble on the rookie head coach has certainly paid off thus far in the 2017 NFL season with Whitworth well on his way to a third consecutive Pro Bowl. More importantly, he has been an integral part of the reason why Los Angeles sits firmly atop the NFC West.