Rams offensive line version of musical chairs
Despite the urgency to add Kevin Dotson to the Rams roster, the Rams were in no hurry to promote Dotson into a starting role among his offensive linemen teammates. After much testing, trialing, and assessment, the Rams finally decided on this five man configuration on the offensive line:
- LT - Alaric Jackson
- LG - Steve Avila
- C - Coleman Shelton
- RG - Joe Noteboom
- RT - Rob Havenstein
And so It was Noteboom to start at right guard, and newly acquired offensive lineman Kevin Dotson took over on the bench. Ah, but the LA Rams offensive line is a focal point of in-season injury and dramatics, and the 2023 NFL season would not be any different. You see, the Rams offensive line suffered a significant number of injuries, but the team set themselves up to fail.
Durability matters on the OL
Despite a consistently and historically high injury rate, the Rams chose to start both Brian Allen And Joe Noteboom in 2022, By starting two players whose NFL careers were laced with downtime of 50 percent due to injuries, the Rams ensured that their offensive line in 2022 would battle injuries all season.
And that is exactly what happened.
It was a painful lesson to learn, but it was a very valuable lesson to learn as well. Unlike offensive weapons that can be subbed into a game for a specific play or series of plays, the performance of an NFL team's offensive line or secondary is dependent upon continuity as much as talent. And so, the decisions that ultimately result in who starts in those units must weigh durability more than the decision over who to start at running back or tight end.
The Rams would get a reminder of that fact early in 2023