The LA Rams, a team that was all but left for dead after nine games with a record of 3-6, has roared back to relevance with a 6-1 run that has clinched another berth in the NFL Playoffs. That make the fifth such postseason participation for Rams HC Sean McVay in seven seasons. That's not bad for a team that almost nobody expected to be .500 this season, let alone a playoff team.
To recognize the Rams roster that rallied from insignificance to holy mackerel status, the Rams learned that the four Rams players have been honored with Pro Bowl nods this year, plus one alternate. They ara:
- QB Matthew Stafford
- Rookie WR Puka Nacua
- RB Kyren Williams
- DT Aaron Donald
- and for an alternate, WR Ben Skowronek
All five players have played outstanding football for the LA Rams this season, and have been significant contributors for the Rams rally late in the year to get to a record of 9-7. But I believe that they would be the first to admit that there were more Pro-Bowl-worthy players on the Rams roster.
While I don't mean to seem ungrateful, or inconsiderate, I was surprised that the Rams did not have more players earn Pro Bowl Honors.
Somewhat of a snub
While rookie OLB Byron Young is not breaking any records this season, he is atop a very talented rookie class of 2023. In his first NFL season, he has 60 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, 18 quarterback hits, and 7.0 quarterback sacks. If Young was drafted in Round 1, the NFL media would be splashing his name across the headlines as the next Myles Garrett. And they wouldn't be wrong, as Young's numbers match or exceed Garrett's NFL debut.
It's never easy to truly and objectively assess the impact of an offensive lineman, but LA Rams RT Rob Havenstein does more for the team than just start at right tackle. He is the venerable spokesman and leader of the Rams offensive line, and he has the group purring like a high-performance engine right now. That should earn some form of recognition. Unfortunately, it does not.
While LA Rams IOL Kevin Dotson did not start every game at right guard, he has certainly made a difference since assuming a starting role in the LA Rams offensive line. In 2023 games so far, He is routinely graded by Pro Football Focus as one of the, if not the, best offensive linemen on a weekly basis. And it shows. Dotson fits the Rams' offensive guard role like a glove, and the trio of LG Steve Avila, C Coleman Shelton, and RG Kevin Dotson clears wide-open running lanes for RB Kyren Williams.
Despite the fact that LA Rams rookie nose tackle Kobie Turner has already tied DT Aaron Donald's rookie sack total of 9.0 quarterback sacks, with one game to go, Pro Bowl honors were not in the cards for The Conductor in 2023. Well, I hope that serves to motivate him for the season finale and postseason competition. The young dynamo has 57 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 15 quarterback hits, and two deflected passes to go with those 9.0 quarterback sacks in his first NFL season.
Even more astounding, Turner often platoons as the Rams nose tackle with teammate Bobby Brown III. That means that he is doing all of this on a part-time basis. He not only outright deserves to be honored with Pro Bowl nod, but he is the hands down best candidate for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2023 as well.
While not many saw Pro Bowl potential for LA Rams ILB Ernest Jones this season, we certainly did and we were happy to share that assertion. Jones has been more than a good performer in 2023. He has been a keystone to a very young defense that has broken many preconceived barriers to rookies flourishing in the NFL. This year, he has broken the single-season tackles record of former Rams LB James Laurinaitis of 142 tackles by putting up 145 tackles in 2023.
Not just that, but Ernest Jones has added 4.5 quarterback sacks, 6 quarterback hits, and 14 tackles for a loss to that total as well. Even his pass defense is pretty respectable, allowing just 70.8 percent of passes thrown his way to find their intended target.
Somehow, these incredible performances were somehow missed by those who vote. And so, some very worthy NFL players will not receive the honors of being an NFL Pro Bowler in 2023. Let's hope the Rams are able to earn a Super Bowl ring to help assuage the pain of missing out.
What are your thoughts? Should the Rams be pleased with five nominations? Or did the Pro Bowl selection process incense you by failing to recognize worthy players? Let us know in the comments section on our Facebook page.