How much pressure is on LA Rams offensive line coach Ryan Wendell this season? Well, in terms of how well the offensive line performs this season, he's sitting in a pressure cooker. But in terms of risks that he may not achieve his goals, I believe that Coach Wendell has that situation well in hand.
After all, the LA Rams did not give Coach Wendell scraps from the bottom of the cookie jar and expect him to feed a crowd. For the first time in a long while, the Rams addressed their need for offensive linemen by adding players during and after the draft. Five rookies in all. Two were selected via the 2023 NFL Draft, while three more were added after the draft. And due to the fact that the 2023 rookie class was deep at offensive linemen, the LA Rams were able to add some talented players.
Perhaps the best addition to the LA Rams in quite some time is rookie IOL Steve Avila. So what's going on so far with the group?
Whose line is it, anyway?
Okay, so we know that some of the LA Rams starting offensive linemen are not playing in preseason games. In fact, that group includes RT Rob Havenstein, C Coleman Shelton, C Brian Allen, and LT Joe Noteboom. But some are playing. Young players like left guard Steve Avila and left tackle Alaric Jackson. Even right guard Tremayne Anchrum Jr. has seen action in preseason so far. So how are they doing? In fact, why stop there? How are all of the LA Rams offensive linemen playing in preseason games so far?
Against the Los Angeles Chargers, the LA Rams offensive linemen graded out:
Considering the fact that Tremayne Anchrum Jr., Steve Avila, and Alaric Jackson are in the runnjing for starting this season, you may not be overly optimistic. But Avila and Jackson only saw action on 11 snaps, while Anchrum played 42 snaps in the opener.
Forging a battle tested offensive line
It does get better, much better. Against the Las Vegas Raiders, the LA Rams offensive linemen graded out this way:
Alaric Jackson rebounded very well, and Tremayne Anchrum Jr. and Steve Avila played well. Now, factor in Coleman Shelton as a starting center and Rob Havenstein as a starting right tackle, and the LA Rams offensive line has a real shot at ending the season among the Top 10 offensive line groups in the NFL
Will that be enough for this team ?
Rams offensive line will turn the corner this season
I think so. But more than ever, I love the way that the LA Rams are beginning to congeal on the offensive line. The secret to an outstanding offensive line unit is to match up not only the best five offensive linemen but also to assemble the most cohesive group. Just check out the ferocity of the LA Rams left guard in the play below:
Steve Avila is that Mr. Nasty on the offensive line that the LA Rams have been missing. He is the guy who is going to help out his teammates, and in return, they will get his back too. Need more proof of Avila's temperament? Then I whole-heartedly recommend that you take a look at this:
Hey, I get it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. And it simply feels safer to troll the Rams offensive line, than to trust them and risk being wrong when the season starts. I get it. But just like the genie told Alladin, the LA Rams offensive line ain't never had a friend like Steve Avila.
It's not going to be instantaneously perfect. In fact, it may never get to 'perfect,' at all this season. But I do believe that the LA Rams offensive line has a real opportunity to perform much better this season. And that begins with setting up the correct configuration.
My preferred starting offensive line is: LT - Alaric Jackson, LG - Steve Avila , C -Coleman Shelton, RG - Tremayne Anchrum Jr., RT - Rob Havenstein. But my reputation and job are not at risk, so it will be up to the Rams coaching staff.
The Rams are no longer passive on the line of scrimmage. I believe that the mean streak of Steve Avila will spread rapidly all along the Rams' offensive linemen. While it may take some time for everyone to gel, they will align very well as long as this group can stay healthy.