LA Rams OL: A bricklayer’s tale of bricks, mortar, and walls

Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /
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All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall

So when one player on the Rams’ offensive line struggles, we collectively assess that to the entire group. We view the goals of the five-man unit to block for runners, to protect the quarterback, and to block downfield if the play advances down the field. If a running back fails to pick up a blitzing linebacker, or if a tight end fails to block a defensive end, we do not caveat that to remove it from our mental tracking of that offensive line’s performance.

Offensive linemen face a raging and unpredictable defensive front and must be able to know and trust what teammates on either side see and are capable of doing. They do that by playing together and communicating effectively. But when the players have limited or no experience playing alongside one another, cracks in pass protection and errors in blocking assignments on running plays happen all too frequently.

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Repair is not replace

But cracks in a brick wall do not mean you tear down the wall, throw away the bricks, and start all over with a new shipment of bricks and a newly mixed mortar. So why is everyone so hell-bent on trashing the entire LA Rams offensive line, waiving all the offensive linemen, and starting over?

To fix a brick wall you must first isolate the problem. Then you score (remove) the bad mortar between and surrounding any bad bricks. Then you replace and only replace the bricks in the wall that are severely damaged, taking care to ensure an ample supply of fresh mortar surrounds and new bricks replaced in the wall. Finally, the bricklayer ensures that the wall is flush, rechecks the mortar, and then lets time dry the wall into its repaired form.

One brick? Two bricks? Certainly not the entire wall. That analogy applies directly to this LA Rams offensive line right now. You know, the same offensive line that has already been built, taken apart, and then reassembled with 11 different sets of bricks, one for each week of the NFL season so far.