speaking of centers… Sullivan, and…who else?

Recent Forum Topics Forums The Rams Huddle speaking of centers… Sullivan, and…who else?

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  • #68918
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    Greenwich Native John Sullivan ‘Golden’ With L.A. Rams

    by Paul Silverfarb

    link: https://www.greenwichsentinel.com/2017/04/28/greenwich-native-john-sullivan-golden-with-l-a-rams/

    In his 10th season in the National Football League, it appears that former Greenwich High School standout and Notre Dame alum John Sullivan is going Hollywood.

    After completing a long tenure with the Minnesota Vikings and a year with the Washington Redskins, the veteran NFL center will be leaving the cold winter months and will help the Los Angeles Rams solidify their offensive line.

    “I’m excited,” said Sullivan. “Obviously, I was with Coach [Sean] McVay last year in Washington. He has a brilliant football mind and I truly believe he’s going to be a great head coach. This is a pretty young team, so I get to come in here and be one of the new veteran leaders. I’m excited about the potential that we have and actually going out on the field and executing it and living up that. I think we’re going to have a great season.”

    For Sullivan, signing with the Rams was an easy choice. He’s an experienced center and will be a huge help for second-year quarterback Jared Goff. In addition, Sullivan quite familiar with the Rams’ new head coach, Sean McVay, who was an assistant coach for the Redskins when Sullivan played in Washington and liked what he saw.

    “As soon as I knew Sean got the job here in L.A., I knew I wanted to come along with him,” Sullivan said. “They have a young quarterback and I was going in free agency and I thought it was a natural fit. There were some bumps along the way and some things that made it look like this wouldn’t happen, but this is where we find ourselves now. I’m just super excited to be back in this role and with this team.”

    Although he started only one game last year for Washington, McVay was highly impressed with Sullivan’s work in front of the quarterback.

    “When he played for us last year, it was 130-or-so snaps, I thought he did an excellent job,” McVay said. “You really can’t undervalue or under-appreciate that communication from that center spot—handling the cadence, handling the calls up front—because it all starts with that spot, most of our calls fit off of that. John was a guy that I was really impressed with. Being around him in Washington, you almost felt like you were talking to a coach. You talk about your quarterback wanting to be an extension of the coaching staff, the center position is very similar where he’s got to have a big-picture ownership of what we’re trying to get done, what we’re trying to accomplish up front. And John is certainly someone that’s shown he is capable of handling that.”

    Sullivan will be looking to fill the hole in the Rams offensive line, as Tim Barnes, a starter at center for the previous two seasons with the Rams, was released this offseason. However, there are still concerns over Sullivan’s health. Two back surgeries forced the center to miss the entire 2015 season with the Vikings.

    He’s hoping a bunch of rest, a change in his diet that helped him lose weight and a solid offseason this year will put the concerns to rest.

    “I feel great,” Sullivan said. “We’re in the first phase of the offseason program and the workouts have gone really well. We’ve had some time in the meeting rooms and I am very familiar with the system that we are putting into place offensively. I think that gives me a leg up.”

    And a healthy Sullivan will help boost Los Angeles offensively. Last season the Rams finished 4-12. Goff played in seven games for the Rams and didn’t get a lot of help from his offensive line: he was sacked 26 times.

    While Sullivan hopes the hard-hitting defense performs just as strong this season as it did last, he said that the offense needs to execute and make sure they embrace the system and culture that McVay is trying to establish with the Rams.

    “We need to get the offense up to speed, go out there and score some points and do what our defense did a year ago by shutting people down,” Sullivan said. “These teams turn it around quick. You put the right pieces in place, in terms of coaching staff and players, and you get rolling. There’s no reason to think that we can’t go out and have amazing success in 2017. That’s the way I’m looking at it.”

    And obviously that familiarity with the head coach’s offensive style is crucial for Sullivan.

    “No matter what, even if you’re familiar with the system, you must learn the people you’re playing with and develop chemistry,” Sullivan said. “There’s a lot of aspects that goes into having success on the field. So, there’s still a ton of work to do, but it’s good to have a head start in terms of being familiar with the offense and terminology. I’m helping put that into practice and just making sure that all that translates to actual success on Sunday.”

    While Sullivan is all about taking on the added stress that comes with playing for a new team, he has a little extra stress now that he has to move his family to the left coast.

    “It was very exciting, but at the same time I am now married and have a kid,” Sullivan said. “We are under the gun to find housing and get out here. While it’s amazing to sign with an NFL team and have an opportunity like I have now, there’s still all those other aspects of life that are still factors in this whole thing. It’s exciting and our set up here in L.A. is beautiful. It’s a city that is passionate about its football team and it’s great that we are back here now. I couldn’t be more excited.”

    And just as he did in Minnesota, Sullivan plans to be a huge part of the community in Los Angeles, saying that it doesn’t matter that the Rams recently moved from St. Louis to the City of Angels.

    “It’s important to me because the NFL in general provides a platform and it’s important to try and give back and better the lives of people who aren’t as fortunate,” Sullivan said. “In terms of embracing the fans, the best way to make the fans happy is to go out and win on Sundays. Everybody wants to cheer for a winning team.”

    Sullivan will notice one of the biggest differences right away. While in Minnesota and Washington, D.C., he got to experience the early winter months up close and personal. Below freezing temperatures, heavy snowstorms, freezing rain and high winds were quite common throughout Sullivan’s career.

    While he will possibly experience that yet again on the road this season, it will be a different story at home in Los Angeles, where warmth and shorts in November, December and January are the norm.

    “There’s no doubt that this is the best weather situation I’ve been in,” Sullivan said. “I’ll leave it at that.”

    #68927
    sanbagger
    sanbagger
    Participant

    Well…he sure gave a good interview, said all the right things.

    Lets hope all that translates on the field.

    Again, McV referred to a player as almost a coach on the field. It is becoming more evident that McV places a high priority on intelligence from his players.

    #68928
    JackPMiller
    JackPMiller
    Participant

    Let’s hope Sullivan can stay healthy, because we have nothing behind him, if he get hurts.

    #68930
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    It is becoming more evident that McV places a high priority on intelligence from his players.

    Yeah you can see it in the interviews too. That was my first reaction to the first interview I saw with Everett. Just a smart kid.

    #68958
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    Centurion wrote:

    About 15 years ago, I worked in a firm with John Sullivan’s late-father Rick Sullivan. As nice a guy as one could imagine.

    We did not know each other too well as it was a very large firm and we were in very different departments. But we did work on the same floor and would occasionally engage in casual conversations.

    My wife had a cousin who was a walk-on at Virginia Tech … a back-up fullback and special teams player. Rick Sullivan would always ask about him in a genuine and kind manner.

    One Fall-day I asked what was knew and Rick explained that he had taken his son around to visit some colleges. I complemented him that it was a terrific thing when a parent can do that with a child, and asked what schools they had visited recently. Rick mentioned that they had just been to Notre Dame and Michigan; and his son loved the Notre Dame campus.

    I commented that it was a great school and asked about his son’s interests. Rick said he was a ‘football player’. I stopped what I was doing and said ‘He’s a football player and he is looking at Notre Dame and Michigan?’ Rick (an average sized man) paused and almost sheepishly told me his son was 6′ 5″ and 300 lbs.

    When I asked about the two schools and visits, Rick said his son really enjoyed his meetings with Tyrone Willingham and Lloyd Carr. I stopped again and said something like ‘ He met with the two head coaches … its the middle of the football season’. Rick went on to explain how is son John was an all-state wrester and high school all-American football player.

    Because he was such a nice guy, Rick tried to ask me about my wife’s cousin. I said ‘The hell with him. Form now on we are talking about your son.’

    #68959
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    What Are the Rams Options at Center?

    Myles Simmons

    http://www.therams.com/news-and-events/article-1/What-Are-the-Rams-Options-at-Center-/7b58e52a-c993-497b-9cab-33323ff40468

    Throughout the offseason, one of the biggest questions surrounding the Rams’ offense is how the unit’s line will be composed.

    Los Angeles partially answered it by signing former Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth to anchor the line, which keeps Rodger Saffold at left guard. Head coach Sean McVay has also moved Greg Robinson and Rob Havensteinto compete at right tackle and right guard, respectively.

    It’s at center where L.A. continues to bring in options with OTAs beginning next week. In early April, the Rams signed John Sullivan, who started 93 games for the Vikings from 2009-2014 before missing the 2015 season with a back injury. He served as the backup center in Washington last year, learning McVay’s offensive system.

    At rookie minicamp over the weekend, McVay said Sullivan and 2014 seventh-round pick Demetrius Rhaney have been taking the majority of snaps at center so far.

    While they did not draft an offensive lineman, the Rams signed Jake Eldrenkamp as a college free agent out of Washington. He saw plenty of action at center during last weekend’s rookie minicamp.

    “He’s got the movement skills that we look for in a center and he’s a big guy,” offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said.

    And L.A. made another move this week, claiming former Colts center Austin Blythe on waivers. A seventh-round pick out of Iowa in the 2016 draft, Blythe appeared in eight games last season, starting the club’s Week 4 matchup against the Jaguars.

    But aside from the listed centers, McVay has said offensive line coach Aaron Kromer is working to cross train interior linemen.

    “I think just because you’ve got to have the season in mind when you’ve got seven, maybe eight linemen [active on gameday], if something did happen to one of those centers, typically it’s going to be [a] guard [filling in] — unless you’re going to have one of those guys that’s your sixth or seventh linemen be exclusively a center,” McVay said. “It’s important for those guards to be able to have some flexibility and be able to snap that football if some of those emergency situations dictate that.”

    And so while Sullivan is likely No. 1 at the position at this point, the center competition will likely be one to monitor through OTAs and training camp.

    #68960
    JackPMiller
    JackPMiller
    Participant

    I look at it, if Sullivan goes down, we are screwed. Blythe may or may not make the roster, but he was cut from the Colts, and their OLine was just as bad as ours. That says a lot about Blythe. Not real good.

    #68961
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    I look at it, if Sullivan goes down, we are screwed. Blythe may or may not make the roster, but he was cut from the Colts, and their OLine was just as bad as ours. That says a lot about Blythe. Not real good.

    I know it looks like that.

    Maybe Rhaney steps up some, maybe Eldrenkamp comes through.

    #68962
    InvaderRam
    InvaderRam
    Moderator

    what happened with jon toth? i’m guessing he wasn’t offered a contract?

    #68963
    JackPMiller
    JackPMiller
    Participant

    I know it looks like that.

    Maybe Rhaney steps up some, maybe Eldrenkamp comes through.

    I’m hoping your right, and somehow Kroner can work magic, but this is year one, and I can not see it.

    #68964
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    what happened with jon toth? i’m guessing he wasn’t offered a contract?

    Yeah…it’s over for toth.

    #68969
    canadaram
    canadaram
    Participant

    Given game day roster limits, Sullivan’s backup should also be able play guard if needed. Blythe played guard for Indianapolis, but not very well from what I’ve read. Not sure who else currently on the roster is going to be able to fill that role.

    "It's nice to be nice to the nice." ~Frank Burns

    #68972
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    Given game day roster limits, Sullivan’s backup should also be able play guard if needed. Blythe played guard for Indianapolis, but not very well from what I’ve read. Not sure who else currently on the roster is going to be able to fill that role.

    They could do a thing where Blythe is inactive during the week and starts only if they know in advance Sullivan will be out.

    JUst thinking out loud here.

    #68985
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    Here are the centers who at this point, so far, are now part of the OTAs/training camp 90…listed by years of experience:

    Sullivan, John 6-4 310 10th year
    Rhaney, Demetrius 6-2 301 4th year
    Blythe, Austin 6-2 291 2nd year
    Eldrenkamp, Jake 6-5 297 rookie

    And of course they cut McMeans and Toth did not get a contract. So at one point they had 5, now they have 4.

    I would not rule out another addition somewhere along the line.

    #68993
    JackPMiller
    JackPMiller
    Participant

    what happened with jon toth? i’m guessing he wasn’t offered a contract?

    Toth was signed to the 9ers roster as a UDFA.

    #69001
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    Toth was signed to the 9ers roster as a UDFA.

    Really? I had not seen that. You sure?

    #69003
    JackPMiller
    JackPMiller
    Participant

    Toth was signed to the 9ers roster as a UDFA.

    Really? I had not seen that. You sure?

    Never mind. I saw him linked to the 9ers, which made me think they signed Toth. Sorry for my mistake.

    #69004
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    Never mind. I saw him linked to the 9ers, which made me think they signed Toth. Sorry for my mistake.

    Oh it’s okay, no big deal. Just double-checking.

    I just happen to have known the real story—Toth just got hired as the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. So I figure he couldn;t have signed with the 9ers.

    #69044
    wv
    wv
    Participant

    This is the kind of personnel/coaching decision that makes the difference between a wildcard team or a losing team, etc.

    These ‘nuts and bolts’ decisions. They are NOT ‘no brainers’. This coaching staff has to get this right. The Center decision. And its not an easy decision, i bet. Its not like starting Goff or Quinn or somethin.

    These are the kinds decisons that will tell us a lot about this new organization.
    The WR decisons are the same thing, to me.

    w
    v

    #69056
    JackPMiller
    JackPMiller
    Participant

    This is the kind of personnel/coaching decision that makes the difference between a wildcard team or a losing team, etc.

    These ‘nuts and bolts’ decisions. They are NOT ‘no brainers’. This coaching staff has to get this right. The Center decision. And its not an easy decision, i bet. Its not like starting Goff or Quinn or somethin.

    These are the kinds decisons that will tell us a lot about this new organization.
    The WR decisons are the same thing, to me.

    w
    v

    We know you are still upset about our Rams not solving the Long Snapper situation.

    #69058
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    These ‘nuts and bolts’ decisions. They are NOT ‘no brainers’. This coaching staff has to get this right. The Center decision.

    Well the staff has already decided, because like all good coaching staffs in this kind of situation, they are putting a lot if not all of this on the OL coach. He knows what he wants at center better than anyone else, and so on. And of course like all good veteran OL coaches, he has done it before. He knows whether Sullivan can play. He knows what he has in the other centers. This is not his first go-round in coaching up an NFL center.

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