Ogle­tree has new job in 3-4

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Gary Klein gary.klein@latimes.com Twit­ter: @la­timesklein

The view in front of Alec Ogle­tree is dif­fer­ent, and it keeps chang­ing.

Dur­ing his four NFL sea­sons, the Rams’ line­backer grew ac­cus­tomed to lin­ing up and play­ing be­hind four line­men in three-point stances. Tackle Aaron Don­ald was a main­stay, start­ing ev­ery game the last two sea­sons.

Now, with the Rams switch­ing to a 3-4 scheme, and Don­ald hold­ing out for a mega­con­tract, Ogle­tree is adapt­ing.

“I try to make sure I get my same reads and do what I need to do,” Ogle­tree said. “You have to be able to ad­just. [Don­ald] is not al­ways go­ing to be in there. He comes out of the game some­times and guys fill in.

“I’m proud of the guys that have been here to fill in for him, and they’re do­ing a great job.”

Ogle­tree, 25, is pre­par­ing for his sec­ond sea­son as the de­fen­sive sig­nal caller.

Last year, he moved from an out­side spot to mid­dle line­backer in a 4-3 scheme.

This sea­son’s chal­lenge: di­rect­ing de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Wade Phillips’ 3-4, which fea­tures Robert Quinn and Con­nor Bar­win as pass-rush­ing lineback­ers.

“It’s been pretty good,” he said of his ad­just­ment. “Hav­ing a year un­der my belt at [mid­dle line­backer], you’re more com­fort­able calling the plays and un­der­stand­ing de­fense.

“So for me, it’s more learn­ing the ter­mi­nol­ogy and how of­fenses at­tack this de­fense.”

Ogle­tree and the Rams were off Tues­day, but they will get a test Wed­nes­day when they hold an­other joint prac­tice with the Charg­ers.

The Rams play their first pre­sea­son game Satur­day against the Dal­las Cow­boys at the Coli­seum.

Ogle­tree, a first-round pick in 2013, is due to earn $8.4 mil­lion this sea­son in the fi­nal year of his con­tract. He said upon re­port­ing to train­ing camp that he was con­fi­dent a new deal would get done.

“It will get done even­tu­ally, one way or an­other,” he said.

Mean­while, the Rams con­tinue to wait on Don­ald, whose hold­out was not ex­pected to end Tues­day, de­spite a dead­line that in his case does not have prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion.

The first game of the NFL sea­son will be played in 30 days. Un­der terms of the col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment, play­ers who do not re­port be­fore that date lose the abil­ity to earn an ac­crued sea­son of ser­vice time to­ward free agency.

For 2014 first-round picks who did not have their fifthyear op­tions ex­er­cised by the teams, and for play­ers drafted in the sec­ond round or lower, that has mean­ing be­cause play­ers can hit free agency af­ter four sea­sons.

But in April, the Rams ex­er­cised their fifth-year op­tion on Don­ald, the 13th player cho­sen in the 2014 draft.

Don­ald al­ready has played three sea­sons, mak­ing the Pro Bowl in each one. If he were to sit out the en­tire sea­son but play next year he would have four years of ser­vice time.

Of course, the Rams would still have the op­tion of putting the fran­chise tag on him for each of the next two sea­sons.

Don­ald is sched­uled to make about $1.8 mil­lion this sea­son and $6.9 mil­lion in 2018. He is be­lieved to be seek­ing a con­tract that would put him among the NFL’s high­est-paid de­fen­sive play­ers.

“That Aaron sit­u­a­tion is some­thing that, like I’ll con­tinue to say, we’re striv­ing to find a so­lu­tion,” coach Sean McVay said Mon­day. “It’s very im­por­tant to us, but in the mean­time guys are get­ting bet­ter and we’ve got to move for­ward.”

Ogle­tree said the Rams would wel­come back Don­ald when­ever he ar­rives.

“You def­i­nitely want him here, but he’s not and our fo­cus is on the guys that are here to help us win,” Ogle­tree said. “When he comes back well def­i­nitely em­brace him and wel­come him back.

“I know he’s work­ing hard, I know he wishes he could be here, but … it’s a busi­ness side to this sport.”


Wed­nes­day’s joint prac­tice with the Charg­ers will be­gin at 4:30 p.m. It is open to the public.

Robert Gau­thier Los An­ge­les Times

LAST SEA­SON, Alec Ogle­tree moved from an out­side spot to mid­dle line­backer in a 4-3 scheme. There’s a new coach­ing staff and new align­ment this year, but Ogle­tree still will be calling the de­fen­sive sig­nals.

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