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Veteran OT Andrew Whitworth pays off for Rams

The Rams' Andrew Whitworth looks on before a

The Rams' Andrew Whitworth looks on before a game against the Colts at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 10, 2017. Credit: Getty Images / Sean M. Haffey

The Giants decided to stick with their young offensive tackles and gamble on them improving. The Rams decided to sign an established veteran to solidify their line.

Guess which team enters Sunday’s game with a 5-2 record and the second-best scoring offense in the NFL?

Hint: It’s not the Giants.

Not that all of their woes can be pinned to not pursuing or signing Andrew Whitworth, a move the Rams made and are glad they did. But the arguments general manager Jerry Reese made last week regarding sticking with Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart as his projected starting tackles and not signing Whitworth — chief among them that he wanted the team to be younger and not add a 35-year-old lineman — seem less defendable with the Rams coming to town exhibiting the benefit of the addition.

“In terms of somebody that we felt like was extremely important, not just for on the field, but the influence that they could have on the locker room, and especially just some of the younger linemen, he was a guy that we absolutely had a major priority on,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of Whitworth on Wednesday. “[We] feel fortunate to have gotten him done and he’s exceeded the expectations.”

And the age factor did not play into it for the Rams?

“I think it’s also important to consider: What does the tape look like?” said McVay [who is three years younger than Whitworth]. “He’s played at a Pro Bowl caliber level the last couple years and been extremely efficient, extremely productive and takes great care of himself. I think that’s why you see him kind of as the outlier for those tackles that you go pay them the amount of money that you do. But, he’s certainly making us right on that decision right now.”

Giant steps

The bye did little to improve the health of the Giants’ roster. Six players were unable to participate in practice because of injuries: DE Olivier Vernon (ankle), DE Kerry Wynn (knee), LB B.J. Goodson (ankle), OL Justin Pugh (back), C Weston Richburg (concussion) and S Nat Berhe (calf). Four others were limited: WR Sterling Shepard (ankle), LB Jonathan Casillas (neck) and LB Calvin Munson (quad) . . . DT Robert Thomas left practice early with a calf injury . . . TE Rhett Ellison was excused from practice for personal reasons . . . The Giants elevated DE Jordan Williams from their practice squad. He takes the place of indefinitely suspended CB Janoris Jenkins on the active roster.

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