Don’t write off LA Rams OL Joseph Noteboom just yet

LA Rams OL Joseph Noteboom is healing, hungry, and hoping for a rematch

LA Rams offensive lineman Joseph Noteboom‘s 2019 season ran about as well as our 2020 year has been going so far. An offensive tackle by trade, he moved to the interior of the offensive line and started at left guard for the LA Rams last year.  From his training at offensive tackle, his instinctively turned to his left to protect the quarterback, riding pressure counterclockwise to ensure that his quarterback, Jared Goff, would have enough time to pass the ball.

Of course, that tendency was diagnosed by defensive coordinators, who learned that sending a second defender straight up the middle would get to Goff pretty quickly. They did, and it did.

Greatness is getting up after getting knocked down

Life comes at you fast, particularly when you are promoted to a starting role on an NFL offensive line.  Noteboom was playing for the first time as an NFL starter, at a position that did not come naturally to him. And he was playing the year after Pro-Bowler Rodger Saffold signed with Tennessee Titans in free agency.  The deck was stacked against him.

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Then it happened. He fell to injury. A devastating knee injury ended his season. And from that point, the hopes of a young man to enjoy a prosperous NFL career appeared to be dashed. In its place was the real experience of getting knocked down and now facing the doubly difficult path of getting back up, rehabbing a damaged knee, and working twice as hard to earn his role in the NFL once more.

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Find your way back

Noteboom is on his way back. Not many are applauding the news, as so many have already made their minds up. But that’s not the way it works. Players evolve, develop, mature, and improve. Each year, an offensive lineman gets stronger and smarter.  That all translates into a better player. And each week of practice, strength training, or game preparation adds to the process of making Noteboom a better player.

So how is he doing now? Good spirits and on the mend. And he’s looking forward to training camp, as there is no better solution to getting thrown from a horse than getting right back on it.

Big plans for the big guy

As easy as it is to discount and troll the guy, or simply make an off-handed remark that he is not worth the time to training and evaluate once-more, that’s not how this story will likely end. It’s easy to pass instant judgment, and foolish to do so. The fact of the matter is that the LA Rams need him. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 309 pounds. He was the 89th player selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, a spot which compares to where the Rams picked outside linebacker Terrell Lewis in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The LA Rams re-signed veterans Andrew Whitworth and Austin Blythe to play for the team in 2020. Whitworth is one of the oldest players in the NFL, so how long can the team expect him to start?  Blythe was signed for a one-year deal.  Who will start for the Rams on the offensive line a year from now? If Joseph Noteboom is not one of your options, you’ve made a huge error.

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NFL players are not disposable. They are worth patience, investing time, and second chances. Many of the NFL’s top players struggled at one time or another.  It was that second chance that proved to be the key to unlocking their greatness. Will Joseph Noteboom be the next starting left tackle for the LA Rams?  Perhaps. But if the team, or the fans, fail to give him the opportunity, then who?  Right now the Rams are letting their 2019 roster ride into 2020. Why should Joseph Noteboom be an option for the Rams offensive line in 2020? Because failure should not be an option, that’s why.

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