LA Rams blocking issues involve more than the offensive line

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Brycen Hopkins
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

There is a lot of discussion going on right now about the inability of the LA Rams’ newly configured offense line to block effectively. While that may be true, it’s a larger problem than many are giving it credit for. To be blunt, the LA Rams’ lack of effective blocking in Week 1 was not limited to the offensive line. It was a symptom of some wide receivers and tight ends as well.

Let’s pause here for a moment. There are risks and rewards with the LA Rams’ approach to preseason. The rewards are simply to avoid unnecessary wear and tear, and injuries, to players who will either start or contribute in a significant role to the team over the course of a season. The downside is that the team will come out unprepared, confused, and unable to sustain NFL-quality play against an opponent in live game settings.  That appears to be what happened in Week 1. But were there other, more alarming causes, of the Rams’ sub-par performance?

We learned after the fact that the offensive tackle Joe Noteboom suffered an MCL strain and that offensive center Brian Allen aggravated a knee injury that required additional medical intervention to clean up residual debris in his knee. That helps to account for four of the seven sacks allowed in the game.

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Further explanations are that David Edwards simply had a lousy game against Buffalo Bills DL strongman Jordan Phillips.  Only Coleman Shelton emerged from the game unscathed, as the Pro Football Focus Week 1 analysis reveals:

Joe Noteboom – 0 penalties, 3 sacks allowed
David Edwards – 1 penalty, 2 sacks allowed
Brian Allen – 0 penalties, 1 sack allowed
Coleman Shelton – 0 penalties, 0 sacks allowed
Rob Havenstein – 0 penalties, 1 sack allowed

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But the LA Rams made it a point to go with just two tight ends and eight offensive linemen because, as it was explained at the time, the Rams ask wide receivers and tight ends to block as effectively as offensive linemen. So how did that all work out for the team?