5 ways LA Rams failed to deliver for QB Matthew Stafford in 2021
Offensive line continuity
One of the immediate needs when converting from a young quarterback to a veteran quarterback is the need to ensure that the offensive line is bolstered and that there is an attempt to ensure continuity among the unit. It’s very important to a veteran quarterback, whose ability to throw the football requires that he senses where the pressure is coming from.
Over the course of the 2021 NFL season, the Rams’ offensive line did solid work. But it required nine offensive linemen to get the job done. Backup offensive center Coleman Shelton was used for nearly the entire game in Week 13 and was the center for Weeks 15 and 16. Rams’ backup offensive tackle, Joseph Noteboom, played at left tackle in Week 8 and at right tackle in Week 14. In Week 16, the LA Rams played almost the entire game with undrafted rookie Alaric Jackson at left tackle.
The offensive line played outstanding, particularly when the team was forced to start their backup players.
But for a quarterback who relies upon that offensive line, much of their play depends on not thinking about where the defensive pressure is coming from. Pocket passer quarterbacks and offensive linemen who enjoy success do so by instinctively knowing and understanding how to handle pressure.
With each new iteration of that offensive line unit, Stafford was facing a new pattern of protection. That becomes just one more thing to think about as he looks downfield to find an open receiver.