LA Rams coaching staff: Keeping it 'All in the Family'
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams may have released former OL Coach Aaron Kromer after the 2020 NFL season, but the team certainly holds the man and his ability to coach up raw but talented young offensive linemen into NFL caliber players in high regard. The Rams have emphatically paid homage to their former offensive line coach by hiring his former Assistant OL Coach, Ryan Wendell, to take over as their new OL Coach for the 2023 NFL season. Now, the latest report from The Athletic's Joudan Rodrigue is reporting that the team will be promoting Offensive Assistant Zak Kromer, (who is Aaron Kromer's son) to the position of Assistant OL Coach.
While the LA Rams offensive line is one of the more concerning areas to fans, the Rams strategy over stocking the offensive line room has been a bit . . . unorthodox over the years. Their strategy has been to cast a wide net of raw talented individuals who may be viewed as raw and unrefined, and then coach them up into viable NFL-caliber performers. While the strategy can backfire when injuries ravage the roster, as it did in both 2019 and in 2022, the method has also proven to be very effective as the Rams have made two Super Bowl appearances in the last six seasons.
Rams fans remain uneasy over offensive line
It's a strategy that makes fans nervous, particularly following a down year like 2022. Ironically, the same concerns plagued the fans before the 2020 NFL season, a year in which the Rams offensive line finished as the third-ranked offensive line in the NFL. In short, you never can tell how the season will turn out.
The emphasis upon offensive line coaches who are clearly linked to former LA Rams OL Coach Aaron Kromer suggests two things about the LA Rams strategy for the 2023 NFL season. The first clue is that the LA Rams released not only the team's OL Coach, but the Offensive Run Game Coordinator when the team parted ways with Kromer in 2021. That had a significant impact to the Rams ability to run, as the team has struggled to threaten defenses with a productive and dependable rushing attack in the past two seasons.
While some fans point to the Buffalo Bills OL regression in terms of ranking in the NFL, don't be so quick to settle on the most shallow and basic of tests. The Bills have been making continuous investments in their offensive line, and due to injuries and other factors, have been unable to reap the full benefits of those investments. But when healthy, the coaching ability of Ryan Wendell did indeed shine through. Wendell himself is a former NFL offensive lineman with the New England Patriots. That should aid the Rams in getting an objective perspective of offensive lineman performances in 2023, something that plagued the team in 2022.
Even more encouraging, the LA Rams moves in the direction of Offensive Coordinator, OL Coach, and now Assistant OL Coach all seem to spell a renewed emphasis and focus on the Rams rushing offense. That is not to say that it's a sure-thing, as nothing run-related is guaranteed as far as the Rams offense is concerned. But more and more, evidence continues to accumulate that the Rams are willing to take a fresh look at running the football in 2023. That could not only help the team put points on the scoreboard, but could help the defense out as well.