As much as I love the current LA Rams offensive line configuration, let's be crystal clear. Starting quarterback Matthew Stafford has taken far too many sacks in just six games. Even after allowing just one quarterback sack in their first two games, the Rams have allowed 16 quarterback sacks in six games.
And that number is likely to increase again this week. The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is tied as the 12th-ranked NFL defense in terms of sacking quarterbacks. Unfortunately, they are the LA Rams Week 7 opponents. So far the Rams have faced the fifth-ranked (Philadelphia Eagles), two teams tied for sixth-ranked (Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks), and two teams tied for ninth-ranked (Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals).
For the most part, the LA Rams offensive strategy has been a rather pass-heavy offensive strategy. With the recent injuries to the top two rushers on the LA Rams offense, the belief is that the Rams will attempt to pass often against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who hold a terrible run defense.
The Rams passed against the Cincinnati Bengals and their terrible run defense in Week 3.
Well, if you can't beat them, join them. Let's just acquiesce to the idea that the Rams will pass 35+ times in Week 7, but run just 15 times. How can the Rams offense slow down the pass rush of Steelers T.J. Watt? We have some thoughts to share about that:
Option III: Run to spot he's vacated
Okay, so even if the Rams do not run often, they can still keep T.J. Watt guessing by running to the spot that he vacates as he rushes the passer. Even if that play fails to gain big yards, the objective is simply to make Watt second-guess himself and hesitate. Even a fraction of a second can make all the difference in the world.
Optimally, the Rams need to stick with a strong commitment to run the football in Week 7. But as we have witnessed in the past, even opponents who are decidedly vulnerable to a rushing offense have little to fear from the Rams trying to exploit that weakness. Hopefully, the Rams swallow their pride and run this week.
Option II: Chip away at him the entire game
Another successful strategy that the Rams seldom seem to employ is to use a running back to chip block him and slow him down, The method requires the Rams to send a running back into the flat or middle of the field, and along the way simply to throw a shoulder into Watt to keep him neutralized. Those chip blocks often allow the offensive lineman to reset their own blocks, and hold the pass rusher far from the quarterback
Option I: Hold in a tight end to double team him
The LA Rams have used their 12-personnel package far too infrequently this season. While I will concede that their primary blocking tight end, veteran tight end Hunter Long, has been on injured reserve the entirety of the 2023 NFL season, rookie tight end Davis Allen has a solid reputation as a blocking tight end.
While Allen is untested, he will never have an opportunity to prove himself until the Rams loosen up and afford him some offensive snaps. In six games so far, Allen has just seven offensive snaps. As we have seen in the past, sometimes those rookies who get the chance to play can deliver better than expectations.