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Veterans confident in young offensive linemen as Rams' next men up

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Sunday's game against the Steelers marked Rams LT Andrew Whitworth's 208th career game played. Across his previous 207, he can't recall a situation like the one Los Angeles' offensive line experienced last week in Pittsburgh when it came to the injuries and consequent reshuffling.

"Definitely have had injuries on the line throughout the years, but not in these kind of situations as far as in the middle of the game, having that many guys, and guys have to rotate everywhere, figuring out who's controlling the snaps and who's doing what," Whitworth said.

"I mean, it was a lot."

That said, Whitworth, nor QB Jared Goff, nor OL Austin Blythe, nor head coach Sean McVay will use it as an excuse moving forward, expressing total confidence in the group's next men up.

"I trust those guys, I feel good with them and they've done a great job," Goff said.

Following injuries to starting C Brian Allen and starting RT Rob Havenstein, the Rams were down to their last active offensive lineman in C Coleman Shelton against the Steelers. Shelton was plugged in at right guard, while Blythe moved over from left guard to replace Allen. Rookie David Edwards began the game as their starting right guard before replacing Havenstein. Second-year pro Austin Corbett, acquired in a trade with the Browns last month, made his Rams debut by filling in for Blythe.

The team's unofficial depth chart lists Whitworth as the starting left tackle, Corbett as the starting left guard, Blythe as the starting center and Edwards as the starting right guard. Rookie Bobby Evans, a third round pick who has been inactive through the Rams' first nine games, is listed as the backup to Havenstein, who is expected to miss one, if not two, weeks.

However, exactly what that starting group will look like against the Rams remains an ongoing evaluation, according to McVay.

"We're confident about the guys' ability to step in," McVay said. "Kind of still working through exactly what that lineup is going to look like. This is part of doing our job."

Collectively, the rest of the projected starting offensive line beyond Whitworth and Blythe has 26 games under its belt.

However, Blythe indicated there isn't anything he'll need to do differently when it comes the play calls on Sunday or getting the younger offensive linemen up to speed during the week, since those younger players have been in the same meetings as the starters every week this season.

"I'm not going to be surprised when they play well on Sunday," Blythe said.

In spite of the challenges presented by that lack of experience, Whitworth stressed that it's "no excuse" moving forward.

"It's the reality of the situation, and we've got to work together and find a way that hopefully we can keep some continuity and keep some guys healthy and keep our group together," Whitworth said.

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