LA Rams 2019 offensive line ahead of other teams this season

(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams brought back 2019’s offensive line. Now it appears that decision could give the team a distinct advantage

When is a bad offensive line not a bad offensive line? When you remove the casts, ACE bandages, and crutches. At least, that is what the LA Rams are counting on this year.  The LA Rams owned the 31st-ranked offensive line in 2019. That fact alone triggered many to call on the team to sign free agent offensive linemen, draft multiple offensive linemen, and rework the entire unit.   Of course, the recent history of the Rams proved that the team had been doing exactly that.

Since 2018, the Rams had steadily been adding offensive linemen. In that 2018 season, the Rams added Brian Allen, Joseph Noteboom, and Jamil Demby.  In 2019, the Rams added Bobby Evans, David Edwards, and Chandler Brewer. Then, mid-season in 2019, the team picked up Coleman Shelton and Austin Corbett.  If you do the math, the team loaded up on eight new offensive in the past two seasons. That’s quite the overhaul, to be honest.

Room for two more?

Conversely, the Rams not only did not add multiple offensive linemen in either the free agency or draft but instead re-signed all of last year’s offensive linemen to 2020 contracts. That’s not just veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, but also Austin Blythe and Coleman Shelton as well. Even in this offseason, the Rams added rookies Tremayne Anchrum and Cohl Cabral. 10 new additions to the roster since the 2018 NFL Draft.

That has been received with disappointment by some, but after thinking about it, many are reconsidering.  After all, this is an offseason like no other, and that comes after a season unlike any other.  The Rams offensive line in 2019 was crippled by multiple injuries throughout the entire season. But that means that the Rams have multiple players competing at virtually all positions with multiple-game starting experience. How can that be anything less than a huge positive, particularly in a year with zero preseason games?

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Rams roster recovers

That brutally battered offensive line is healthy now. Healthy and a bit miffed. After all, practically everyone projects the Rams to finish in the NFC West basement.  How easy is it to overlook the fact that Rams head coach Sean McVay has never led the Rams to a losing season?  Easy enough it seems, as so many seem to have presumed that the Rams 2019 injuries will reoccur in 2020. But the very reason for the Rams’ struggles in 2019 is the very reason that the offense snaps back to true form in 2020. Injured players have healed.

The Rams have everyone back. Everyone. Not one player is absent yet from the 2019 squad. The team got the band back together. So in terms of pure continuity, the LA Rams are first on the list. First. No other NFL team has as much continuity in their offensive lines this season.  Remember,  this was the same offensive line, errors, and gaffs, that began the 2019 season 3-0 before injuries began to take a harsh toll.

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Continuity, confidence, conquest

The LA Rams have everyone back from a season ago at a time that coaches have only had virtual contact with players.  We covered the silver lining aspect of the Rams situation, and that is now catching the attention of others. In bringing back all five starters from 2019, plus players who started after injuries, the Rams offensive line has more depth than many NFL teams.

That advantage of one of the most familiar offensive lines will be a huge advantage for the team in the first 6-8 games of the season. While other teams are working out their bugs, the Rams enter 2020 having worked out their bugs a season ago. The Rams not only have a more capable offensive line for 2020 but also contingency plans that proved successful last season when the Rams offensive line struggled.

Rams offensive line can be markedly better

While the Rams have restocked the offensive line with last year’s players, there are many reasons to expect far better play this season.  To begin with, familiarity and continuity is a huge plus.  Reassembling a healthy roster will be a huge advantage over a season ago as well. And of course, the fact that so many players have actual NFL game experience gives the offensive line enough flexibility to boast an experienced backup at virtually all positions. That’s all just on the player side, though.

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The coaching staff also had an entire off-season to mull over what went wrong in terms of blocking. To that, the coaches also had opportunities to study game film and determine what went right for the team. That will mean a great deal for the team, as the lack of preseason games and OTAs will make it more difficult for the Rams, and every team, to succeed early in the season. While many teams will be working hard to get into a rhythm, the Rams will be there from the first snap.  Fret if you must.  I am growing more and more optimistic over the Rams chances this year.