We all knew that the LA Rams needed a much stronger effort from the offensive line in the 2023 NFL season than that of 2022. But it's tough to get any traction if the group is reconfiguring itself with each new game. After all, the Rams have had as many as six different versions of the offensive line in just eight weeks.
At left tackle, the Rams have played Alaric Jackson, Zach Thomas, Joe Noteboom, and finally back to Alaric Jackson. At right guard the Rams have played Joe Noteboom, Tremayne Anchrum, and Kevin Dotson. At center, the Rams have had Coleman Shelton, Brian Allen, and back to Coleman Shelton. At right tackle, the Rams have had Rob Havenstein, and now Joe Noteboom
And the Week 8 performance grades are in. Is it any wonder that Joe Noteboom, who can be tasked at filling in to start at any position on the offensive line, struggled?
The LA Rams are not sitting on their thumbs over the roster right now. At least, not when it comes to the offensive line. It was known that the Rams offensive line performance in the 2023 NFL season would either make or break the team this year. But where do the Rams need to improve?
Thar's a tough question.
Rams OL needs continuity, chemistry, and communication
The chemistry and communication among offensive linemen are every bit as vital as raw talent. They are not five separate players. Rather, on any given play, they are connected, forced to hand off one defender and pick up another. It's that ability to work together that gets missed all too often.
Even now, after the Rams have invested well enough to land four new starters for the 2023 NFL season (Alaric Jackson, Steve Avila, Coleman Shelton, and Kevin Dotson), fans believe that new faces that will reset the entire pattern of trying to build chemistry and communication with a new unit is the right direction to take.
I'm not convinced.
The Rams have yet to use any surge of 12 personnel packages, despite having six tight ends scattered on various rosters. The Rams have run 208 times this season, but failed to run against two defenses that were the most susceptible to a rushing offense: The Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Even as the LA Rams continue to invest in the offensive line, the NFL will continue to outflank the Rams offensive line until other strategies are deployed. The success of power back Royce Freeman, who has rushed 21 times for 110 yards and one touchdown, is just the tip of the iceberg.
The LA Rams offensive line can be a top unit in the NFL. But the truth of the matter is that they need more than predictable formations, play calling, and passing into the jaws of some of the most dominating pass rushes in the NFL. I don't view the Rams offensive line as a top need for the 2024 NFL Draft right now.
And if the Rams re-sign IOL Kevin Dotson, I don't know that the offensive line will be a need in the 2025 NFL Draft either.