Despite recent struggles, LA Rams OL remains Top-10

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

In spite of some recent  wobbly games, the LA Rams offensive line remains among NFL’s Top-10

The LA Rams offensive line has been a topic of discussion for the past two NFL seasons. After all, is the Rams offense misfiring at times because the offensive line is playing poorly? Or are there more sinister demons that need to be exercised from the Rams offense to restore it to the NFL dominance of 2018?

Well, the LA Rams offensive line does not appear to be an obvious problem. The latest offensive line rankings of have the LA Rams offensive line ranked eighth in the NFL. That’s a pretty lofty perch for the squad that was the 31st-ranked unit in the NFL just one season ago. But it does open the door to some questioning.

OL ranks – linemen or running backs?

The sudden rocketing of the Rams offensive line to among the best of the NFL seems to run counter to all sorts of logic. Or does it? After all, we know that despite all sorts of off-season pressure, the Rams made a series of controversial decisions regarding the fate of the offensive line. In each case, the Rams afforded the veterans the benefit of the doubt. Those players have responded this season by exceeding everyone’s expectations.

The Rams parted ways with featured running back Todd Gurley in the offseason. While that doesn’t directly affect the rankings of an offensive line, the way grades are determined is affected. You see, the running game is a combination of the rusher’s talent and offensive linemen’s blocks. And grading the offensive line will be a derivative of how effectively the running back rushes with the football. Gurley now plays for the Atlanta Falcons, a team whose offensive line is ranked 24th in run blocking. Coincidence? This year, the Rams are ranked 5th in run blocking.

More factors

But the team may be buoyed by other factors as well. With the exodus of WR Brandin Cooks, the Rams have shortened their passing game somewhat, which requires less time to develop. Of course, passing the ball more quickly reduces the time for pass rushers to pressure the quarterback.

So far this season, the LA Rams are sixth-best at avoiding quarterback sacks with just 20 after 14 games. In fact, of the top ten teams with the fewest quarterback sacks, only the Las Vegas Raiders are not currently in place for a playoff berth.

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The LA Rams set out to restore their offensive line to the top-half among the NFL blockers and exceeded the goal by a vast margin. This year is a bit of a surprise to many on that issue. But the fall to 31st in 2019, and the rise to a top-ten offensive line in 2020 proves just how volatile offensive line play truly has become. And that his why teams with good offensive line play need to capitalize on that success when it happens.