From goats to scapegoats
The LA Rams offensive line is an easy scapegoat right now. There is zero continuity among the Rams’ offensive line players, as the team has been forced to start a new group of five in each of the past five games. With David Edwards entering the NFL concussion protocol for the second consecutive week, the Rams will likely start another five for Week 6.
But let’s break down exactly what is breaking down for just a moment. To be fair, the LA Rams’ offensive decisions seem to be aggravating the problem, not helping it.
Let’s start with some basic concepts. It is more difficult to pass block than to run block in the NFL. The reasons are many, but the idea is that run blocking allows offensive linemen to push out against the defenders, hold their blocks for a limited amount of time until the runner clears the hole, and force defensive players to hold their ground at or nearly at the line of scrimmage in order to allow them to follow the runner before making a defensive play.
Pass blocking made even more difficult
Pass blocking is more difficult because it forces offensive linemen to absorb the rush of the defender, forces the offensive lineman to hold their blocks much longer, and allows defenders to attack with stunts and blitzes to change the looks and assignments of blockers.
Also, a good running offense helps the passing game by activating the play-action pass option. In play-action, the offense feigns running the football, effectively freezing defenders for a second or two, and then has the opportunity to pass the football.
Without a running game, or even the threat of a running game, the Rams offensive line really has no chance in hell. The offense has abandoned the run, and play action. How can any offensive line succeed in that scenario?