Wade Phillips confident in his linebackers despite their inexperience
The Rams opened last season with Alec Ogletree, Robert Quinn, Connor Barwin and Mark Barron as their starting linebackers. Only Barron returns this season.
Ogletree, Barwin and Quinn have combined for 21 seasons, 252 starts and three Pro Bowls. Their replacements -- Cory Littleton, Samson Ebukam and Matt Longacre -- have six seasons and eight career starts among them.
Still, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips likes what he saw from his linebacking group this offseason.
“We’ve got some good looking players,” Phillips said, via Kristen Lago of the team website. “We’re not set there like we are in some other positions as we are with cornerbacks and safeties, but we’ve got some good players up front. So, we have a lot of strength, we just need some guys to come through, and it looks like they have the ability to.”
Littleton, who started four games last season in his second season, spent the offseason training to be the team’s defensive signal caller.
“I think when you just really look at it from a big picture standpoint on the defensive side of the ball, Cory Littleton playing that MIKE linebacker spot has done a great job,” coach Sean McVay said. “He played our MOE spot when he had to fill in for Mark last year, but he’s immediately stepped in, taken good control and command. I think he’s done a great job communicating.”
Barron missed much of the offseason program while rehabbing from shoulder surgery, and Longacre continues to work his way back from a back injury.