Rams banking on Boudreau's expertise

Dan Arkush
June 28, 2012
Reports: Rams to hire Walton as defensive coordinator

New Rams head coach Jeff Fisher isn’t banking solely on his well-regarded staff of defensive coaches to come to the rescue in the wake of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ indefinite suspension. The way we hear it, Fisher is also counting on a major pick-me-up on the other side of the ball courtesy of new offensive line coach Paul Boudreau, who earned strong reviews in Atlanta, where he managed to develop a very capable unit despite a lack of heralded talent.

“He’s known for developing people, and that’s what they’re hoping he’ll do here, particularly at left guard,” said one team insider.

Among a number of unsettled positions for the Rams, left guard might be at the top of the list at the moment, with journeyman Bryan Mattison appearing to have a leg up on a host of challengers.

“He played surprisingly well,” the insider said of Mattison, who started the final four games last season at left guard (the first four starts of his career) after being claimed off waivers from the Ravens late last November. “He’s a big guy, a converted D-lineman with a defensive mentality. He looks like the type of guy Boudreau could make into something.”

But word is Mattison could be facing some heavy competition at left guard. Free-agent pickups Quinn Ojinnaka and Robert Turner have previously played under Boudreau in Atlanta and new Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer with the Jets, respectively, and could end up giving Mattison a run for his money later this summer, although Turner has been playing mostly center up to now with newly acquired Scott Wells having been sidelined by minor knee issues.

In addition, long-armed fifth-round rookie Rokevious Watkins, who has excellent size, has gotten some early reps at left guard and could very well end up being a factor.