LA Rams OL woes show signs that the team has no solution
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams continue repairs on the offensive line, with no true end in sight. Right now, it almost forces fans to consider the unthinkable. Do the Rams coaches know what they are doing? I understand that Rams head coach Sean McVay has been incredibly successful, and just won Super Bowl LVI. But he is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. Right now, under his watch, the Rams are failing.
And like any automobile that is not working up to expectations, the Rams coaches are the virtual auto mechanics to the team. The only problem? Like most auto repair shops that have no idea what the problem is, the Rams coaches are blindly swapping parts, never demonstrating a good understanding of what the problem actually is, whether the team has the right part (player) in stock, or whether any changes will actually help.
In short, the Rams have done a lot of changes, talked at length about fixing things, and corrected almost nothing, so far. And once more, the Rams are going to take a look at their offensive line.
The question that immediately forms is: What have the Rams been doing with the IOL so far this season? I mean, when a player falls to injury, isn’t that part of the weekly process?
Bad repair shops have this in common
Have you ever gone to a bad auto repair shop? The experience is very similar to what Rams fans are going through right now. It starts by describing the problem. Then there is the reassurance that the repairs are pretty simple and straightforward. Then when you pick up the car, you are told what was wrong and that parts have been swapped out. But on the way from the mechanic to home, the same hesitation and noise strike up again.
And so, it’s back to the mechanic to be reassured, repairs effected, and back to driving the car home with the same results. After this process repeats multiple times, the revelation finally hits you. This mechanic has no clue how to fix this, does he?
Right now, the LA Rams are entering their ninth football game, and are likely about to do so with their ninth different starting offensive line. This is not just due to injuries. This is due to both the frequency and number of injuries, but also due to the inability of the coaching staff to recognize that some players cannot perform in the roles that they are assigned to.
The weakest link
Offensive tackles block in one direction. Their blocking assignment counts out from the interior to take on the next unassigned defender. Interior offensive linemen must keep their heads on a swivel, as their assignment from the defense can appear either to the right or the left of their opening stance.
The LA Rams’ offensive line may or may not be broken. All we know is that the Rams coaching staff hasn’t the ability to correct problems. When Jeremiah Kolone was the starting center, he was beaten pretty badly. When he was replaced by starter Brian Allen, left guard Bobby Evans is getting beaten badly.
Defenses will find and attack the weakest link on the offensive line. That is why it is so critical to evaluate the group weekly, particularly when three of the five players did not start the season at their current position. By doing so, the Rams may have already recognized that while Bobby Evans can play offensive tackle, he is overmatched as an interior offensive lineman. If that is so obvious to everyone else, how can it be lost to the Rams coaches?
Would a trade at the NFL Trade Deadline have mattered? I don’t know if it would. The Rams have signed three solid options on the offensive line, but in almost every case, they seem to be the last option for the team at any given position.
I believe right now that the LA Rams’ optimal offensive line configuration with healthy and available players consists of Alaric Jackson, Chandler Brewer, Brian Allen, Oday Aboushi, and Rob Havenstein. If Coleman Shelton is able to return, simply move Aboushi to left guard.
It’s not like the Rams are making this harder than it needs to be. The Rams simply do not have the answers to how to fix the offensive line, and they will keep on swapping parts as though they do.