The LA Rams are not reinventing the wheel this season. Rather, the Rams are simply following the course laid down by many of the great NFL legends of yesteryear. Renovating a roster involves these four steps, and there is no way around them. Four crucial steps that must be met with patience, and positive coaching.
What are they? Let's go down the line over the first season of an NFL rookie who gets a chance to start. Keep in mind that many teams will sign a veteran free agent as a stopgap measure just in case the rookie does not pan out, or struggles in his first season. For the LA Rams, the rookie offensive lineman this season is interior offensive lineman Steve Avila. But, every NFL player goes through this process in their rookie season. Those steps are:
- Draft a player to fill a roster need
- OTAs, training camp, preseason games. Are they good enough? If yes, Step 3. If no, back to Step 1
- Play NFL games. Coach player through mistakes. If players improves, Step 4. If no, back to Step 1
- Play consistent football. Few mental mistakes or errors. If nearly flawless football, you are there. If not, back to Step 1
Note how the process has a reset with each step of the way. That is the real risk to any NFL draft, and certainly much of the risks that had thwarted the Rams front office efforts to restock the Rams roster in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
But it's not just rookies who face that process. The LA Rams started OT Alaric Jackson at left tackle for the 2023 NFL season. He also faces the path of blending practice and live gameday experience as he develops and becomes a consistent NFL starter for the Rams. Based on his recent performance, he has arrived.
Rams are putting their best effort into a playoff push
While that is a simple menu of steps required to give an NFL rookie enough time and support to compete with his veteran peers in his first season, it is also representative of why the LA Rams have needed time to gel on the offensive line and in the secondary.
Just like rookie players, newly configured NFL groups that play alongside one another need time to get up to speed in the NFL. For the record, the LA Rams offensive line, as it is currently configured, have only played together as a group for eight games. That's just half of an NFL season, and is due to the fact that LT Alaric Jackson was out for Week 4, and RG Kevin Dotson did not suit up for the Rams until Week 4.
As a result, the Rams starting offensive line is only now just starting to come into their own. Just check out the grade for Rams OT Jackson in the tweet below:
The Rams not only ran the football well against the Cleveland Browns, but the Rams did not allow a single quarterback sack to a very strong Browns pass rush. And it's the fact that the Rams offensive line played so well that allowed the Rams offense to score 36 points against a defense that was smother offenses so far this season.
Their work is not over yet. The Rams must finish out the 2023 NFL season strong, which means that the offensive line cannot take a week off the rest of the way. I believe that they can do it. What are your thoughts about the LA Rams offensive line? Let us know in the comments section of our Facebook page.