This explains why Rams allowed 3rd most sacks in NFL

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams were not a very good offense in 2022, and the offensive line has been cited as the main cause for the disappointing performance. No matter how many times or how earnestly fans and bloggers implore the team to run first, this offense will be a pass-centric machine as long as Sean McVay is the LA Rams head coach.

But the biggest concern on everybody’s mind is the number of quarterback sacks allowed by the LA Rams in 2022, a whopping 59 sacks. So let’s break it down using the snap count from, and the sacks allowed from Pro Football Focus’s player grading system. While not a perfect system, it should allow us the opportunity to pinpoint who struggled the most and therefore which NFL positions the LA Rams should prioritize this offseason.

  • Name                         Posn    #Snaps  #sacks      Ratio         2023?Rob Havenstein        RT         1018          6           0.59%         YesColeman Shelton     C/G          719          4          0.56%          Poss FAMatt Skura                  G             466          3           0.64%          FATy Nsekhe                   LT            423          3           0.71%          FAAlaric Jackson             LT            422          2           0.47%          YesBrian Allen                   C             372          4           1.07%           YesOday Aboushi             G             339          2            0.59%          FAJoe Noteboom            LT            325           5           1.54%          YesBobby Evans               G             314           7            2.23%          ReleasedDavid Edwards          LG           230           3            1.30%          FAChandler Brewer        G             227           0            0.00%          FAJeremiah Kolone         C             188           0*          0.00%           YesA.J. Arcuri                      IOL            70           0            0.00%           YesAll others **                                      3           20             –                   –

* Jeremiah Kolone was not graded with an allowed sack, but his three games as the Rams center were marked with defensive stunts that shredded the Rams’ pass protection.

** All others denote offensive linemen with under 5 offensive snaps, tight ends, running backs, and wide receivers who were tasked with pass protection. It also serves to catch sacks that were a direct result of no offensive lineman being responsible for that defender.

Who were the outliers?

After the smoke clears, the weak links for the Rams’ offensive line are:

Joe Noteboom at left tackle
Brian Allen at center
David Edwards at left guard

Edwards is a free agent, but his health concerns are clearly a medical flag that could prevent him from signing with a new team. The Rams signed both Joe Noteboom and Brian Allen to new multi-year contracts that are already appearing to be vastly overpriced. I would expect the Rams to renegotiate those deals in the off-season.

The best off-season signing for the Rams appears to have been the modest investment to extend backup center Coleman Shelton, but recent reports indicate that he faces an option year for 2023 with the Rams. Of the Rams’ offensive linemen, Havenstein and Shelton were the best performers.  While there is plenty of room for depth and competition, the Rams could reset the starting offensive line with Alaric Jackson at left tackle, Tremayne Anchrum Jr. to line up at left guard, and finally, allow Joe Noteboom and Logan Bruss to compete for the right guard position.

A potential 2023 offensive line configuration

That would mean the Rams’ 2023 offensive line could be configured:

Alaric Jackson, Tremayne Anchrum Jr., Coleman Shelton, Logan Bruss, Rob Havenstein.

That would allow the Rams to select the best player available in the draft, and perhaps grab an elite cornerback or pass rusher if one should fall to them early in Round 2. Is that the ideal situation?

It’s an either-or situation, one that is forced upon the Rams due to having a limited number of draft picks early. Do the Rams plan to stockpile offensive linemen? Or is this a roster that needs help on both sides of the football? I don’t have the answers, but I will point this out.

The Rams added seven offensive linemen to the roster in 2022. Based on a quick analysis above, many of those players outperformed the Rams regulars by a significant margin. The Rams have an opportunity to shore up the OL by extending several of the veterans who played well for the team in a pinch.

The analysis above showcases that the Rams offense was struggling in pass protection out of the starting gate, and it was not resolved throughout the 2022 season. Even had the Rams starting five remained healthy, neither Brian Allen nor Joe Noteboom or even David Edwards for that matter was anything to write home about.  In fact, the Rams original offensive line configuration set the stage for a disappointing offensive performance.

Fix the O-line? Absolutely. But perhaps the Rams saw enough to bring back veteran offensive linemen to task with protecting veteran starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. And if that is their option, then the 2023 NFL Draft could yield a treasure trove of starters for this team.

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