An offensive line injury is the last thing the Rams need this season, but in a loss reminiscent of 2007, LG Jacob Bell left the game early after a hit to the abdomen. Talk about deja vu all over again...
Bell was a big offseason acquisition for the Rams. He missed two games already this season, against the Giants and Seahawks, and his absence was notable. Not that the line has been stellar with Bell in uniform, but his absence was felt...just look at runs up the middle yesterday vesus games prior.
Is Bell a bust? In a post-game post at his Extra Points blog, PD columnist Bernie Miklasz critized Bell:
Guard Jacob Bell, who was injured Sunday, is having a rough season. He hasn’t played well. The Rams threw a lot of money, $36 million, at Bell last offseason to get him away from Tennessee. The last time the Rams tossed big cash at a free agent from Tennessee, the object of their affection was the $30 million WR, Drew Bennett. That’s right: $66 million for these two duds. You think Jeff Fisher is laughing? Might be a good idea to avoid those FAs from Tennessee from now on. Put it this way: the Bell signing isn’t going to make anyone forget the free-agent signing of guard Adam Timmerman before the 1999 season.
No, the move isn't going to make anyone forget about nabbing Timmerman; however, Bell's performance has been hindered by the linemen around him. C Nick Leckey is too small and the weak spot that creates in the line has to be filled by extra attention from those around him, i.e. Bell and Incognito. Furthermore, Orlando Pace playing on Bell's left has shown his age this season. It's no secret that good linemen get swallowed up by the competition when the linemen around them don't play well. And I think that explains much of what is happening to Bell. It's not enjoyable to watch, but I think he'll be much more of an asset next season if the Rams can fix their line. Timmerman, remember, had Orlando Pace in the prime of his career anchoring the line.
Maybe Torry Holt could again offer some advice to the o-line, but the bottom line is that it's holes are just too great to overcome on a week-in, week-out basis.