The LA Rams offensive line had some questions to answer for the 2022 NFL season. One of the biggest questions about the starting five offensive linemen chosen for this season was a matter of durability. It was the most obvious question and was one that we raised six months ago. In short, the LA Rams designated both Brian Allen and Joseph Noteboom as starters for their offensive line, but neither player has been particularly durable.
Before this season, we had done some quick and dirty durability calculations for Brian Allen and found that he was available just 59 percent of the time. With his early season injury in 2022, that rate has dropped below 50 percent.
Before this season, the same quick analysis methodology found that offensive lineman Joe Noteboom has been available just 50 percent of the time. Now, with the latest news, Noteboom’s durability will fall below 50 percent as well:
Both Brian Allen and Joe Noteboom started on the LA Rams offensive line in 2019. In that year, Noteboom would last for just six games before his season would be ended due to a knee injury. Just three games later, Allen’s knee would be injured so seriously that it would require two seasons before he would be able to return to the Rams’ offensive line.
2019 shadow grows ever larger
Those two injuries, and the struggles of the offensive line in 2019, would be the worst season ever under LA Rams head coach Sean McVay. The Rams finished that year with a record of 9-7. While still over .500, the Rams would miss the NFL Playoffs for the first and only time for Coach McVay.
The Rams would end up trading a fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for IOL Austin Corbett and would sign Coleman Shelton from the Arizona Cardinals practice squad. Corbett would prove to be a plug-and-play starter that season, while Shelton would prove to be a solid backup who has grown to earn a starting role this season.
Was it just bad luck or poor planning on the part of the LA Rams this year? While you certainly cannot run scared, the decision to go so light on keeping just eight players on the Rams’ initial 53-man roster has proven to be tough luck. But knowing that at least two of five starters on this roster have significant durability concerns, that seems to be as much on the decision-makers as on poor luck.
Both Brian Allen and Joe Noteboom were at greater-than-normal risk of significant injury this season. Unfortunately, now both players have succumbed to injury, and that has placed an enormous and unnecessary on this offensive line to compensate.
In 2019, the LA Rams were coming off a Super Bowl appearance, fell to a 3-3 record after six games, and fought injuries to defensive backs and offensive linemen all season to scrape together a 9-7 record. In 2022, the LA Rams are coming off a Super Bowl victory, are at 3-3 after six games, and are fighting through injuries to defensive backs and offensive linemen.
It’s deja vu all over again, folks.
Yes, the LA Rams’ offensive line is getting hammered with injuries this season. Still, we all knew the risks months ago, as did the Rams. But the Rams are a team that loves to take those risks. Sometimes, those gambles pay off. This time, the Rams rolled craps.