Durability is the greatest concern for LA Rams offensive line in 2022

Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports /

What makes a good offensive line unit? For LA Rams fans, the answer to that question will say a lot about how you will view the 2022 offensive line. If you respond with a specific player’s or players’ names, then you will likely have a glass-half-empty perspective regarding the new version of the team’s offensive line.

If you focus on one particular aspect of the offensive line, whether run blocking or pass blocking, you will have considerations that could leave you either optimistic or pessimistic about the Rams’ offensive line this season.  The team right now is most likely to configure the offensive line with Joseph Noteboom, David Edwards, Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, and Rob Havenstein.

While both Noteboom and Shelton are new projected starters for those positions in 2022, both had spot starting roles in 2021, and both performed well enough on those occasions to consider them to be ideally suited to start this year.

So what are we driving at?  Well, if you mentioned either durability or availability when asked what makes a good offensive line unit, then pat yourself on the back. Because that is a concern that the LA Rams will need to address in the 2022 NFL season.

More specifically, Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen, carry the risk of availability.

The Rams roster needs good OL backups

For Brian Allen, he has been a starting offensive lineman for the LA Rams for two seasons: 2019 and 2021. In 2019, he was seriously injured in the ninth game of the season and missed the remaining seven games. In 2021, he was injured twice. He only missed one full game but was benched rather early in two other games. Truth be told, he injured his left elbow in the Week 9 game against the Tennessee Titans and finished that game practically one-armed. He struggled in Weeks 10 and 11, before finally leaving in Week 12.

Of 32 possible games, Allen has been adversely affected in 13 games, for a durability rate of just 59 percent.

The story is similar for Joseph Noteboom, who has had two seasons where he was the projected starter. In 2019, he was injured in just the sixth game of the season and missed ten games. The following season, he was the projected starter once more but fell to injury in the second game of the season. He did eventually heal up in time to take over for an injured Andrew Whitworth at left tackle and start the remaining seven games of the season. His durability rate, having been adversely affected in 16 games over two seasons, is just 50 percent.

By rights, and using this simplistic method of calculating backup offensive linemen needed, the Rams should plan to have backup players on the roster who can effectively play eight games at left tackle, and seven games at offensive center.

Of course, both players may remain healthy throughout the season. And yet, that’s not the way planning for an NFL season works. Knowing that both Noteboom and Allen have suffered multiple injuries in their short NFL careers, the front office needs to take that into full consideration as they construct the Rams roster for this year.

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