How long have LA Rams neglected their offensive line?

Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports /

There is quite a bit of ranting and raving happening about the LA Rams offensive line, and much of it is perfectly fine and warranted. But whenever a unit of any NFL team fails to meet expectations, facts and fiction become interwoven at a minimum, and downright disregarded at their worst. Right now, there is a loosely tossed-around concept that the LA Rams offensive line has been neglected for years, and the results of the 2022 NFL season are just the multi-year rot of the roster finally breaking through to the surface.

That’s utter nonsense.

Whether or not you choose to believe that is up to you, but the reality of the matter is that the LA Rams offensive line, despite not boasting Day 1 selections from the NFL Draft, has performed among the best units in the NFL. Until now, that is.

The LA Rams’ offensive line rankings over the past five seasons seem to have been swept under the carpet. Here is what I mean:
2017 Rank: 6th Overall
2018 Rank: 6th Overall
2019 Rank: 31st Overall
2020 Rank: 3rd Overall
2021 Rank: 7th Overall
2022 Rank: TBD

I’m sorry, but the only season with an offensive line that fell outside of the Top-10 rankings in the NFL was the 2019 season, a year in which the Rams offensive line suffered injuries to all five starters, and was forced to swap players in and out of that group in a manner that greatly resembles the 2022 NFL season so far.

So what did the Rams do the following year? The team drafted one offensive lineman in the seventh round (Tremayne Anchrum Jr.) and rode with the same offensive linemen from 2019. Notice the rebound?

What about QB sacks?

Okay, maybe the data is skewed based on rushing attempts, limited numbers of passes thrown, and a host of other factors that can make an offensive line shine when it is merely average. To prove the logic of the above OL rankings, we stripped all of the OL data down to quarterback sacks allowed, and then compared the LA Rams offensive line to 13 other NFL teams. You can check out the results below

QB Sacks allowed through Week 12 2022 NFL season

Team                2017   2018    2019   2020   2021   2022       Totals
Rams                  28         33          22       25        31        38            168
Colts                    56        18          32       21        32         43            202
Bears                  39          33         45       36        58         42           253
Broncos              52          34         41       32        40        36            235
Bengals              40          37         48       48         55       35            263
Giants                 34          47          43       50        38       33            245
Texans                 54         62          49       50        44       33             292
Cardinals             52         52          50       29        39       31             253
Packers                51         53          36       21        33       24             218
Browns                50         38          41       26        49        24            228
Bills                       47         41          40       27        27        23            203
Lions                     47         41          43       42        36        17            205
49ers                    43         48          36       39        33        19            214
Seahawks            43         51          48       48        46        27            263

The table shows that the LA Rams have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL since Head Coach Sean McVay has taken over the team. And the two years in which the LA Rams offensive line severely underperformed, the 2019 NFL season and the 2022 NFL season, are directly and blatantly a result of the massive number of injuries and turnovers in the unit as a result.

Do you believe the sky is falling for the LA Rams OL? Only if you want it to . . .

So I wouldn’t be so certain that the entire LA Rams roster is bad, or that the team needs to release a half dozen or so players to return to some level of relevance. This is an offensive line that is struggling, yes. But it is absolutely fixable with continuity. If you doubt my reassuring words, just compare the LA Rams offensive line in 2019 and 2020.

The team could use help at the offensive line position, sure. But I am still not certain whether the Rams will try to invest heavily in their offensive line in the 2023 NFL Draft. But I am certain of one thing. Regardless of how the Rams address the draft, the Rams’ OL will rebound significantly next season.

You may have a different opinion of the matter, and you are entitled to that. But has any of these facts helped? Do you still believe that the sky is falling for the LA Rams offensive line? Do you want that to be the case? There is a bias to overdramatize events now. Minor adversity is compared to epic historical tragedies without blinking an eye. The only way to overcome that is to sit down and examine facts objectively.

Yes, the LA Rams offensive line is really banged up in 2022. That won’t be the case in 2023, so let’s not portray a scenario where it is.

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