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Midseason Review: Offensive Line

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It's tough to quantify how disappointing the Rams offensive line has been through the first half of the 2011 season. The young tackles haven't progressed like we hoped they would and the high priced free agents on the inside have done nothing to impress.

Hit the jump and get your frowny faces ready.

 

Rodger Saffold, OT

If there has been one player who you could pick for the Alex Barron Award, it'd be Saffold. After his great rookie season, everyone and their mother thought Saffold was a steal, even at the top of the second round. Unfortunately, supremely average blocking and more false starts then you can imagine have derailed his season. It appears even the wrath of Steven Jackson can't yank him out of his funk.

Grade: F

Jason Smith, OT

During the preseason, it looked like Smith was finally starting to put it together. Popular thinking was that after adding Harvey Dahl, Smith would be a more focused, nasty run blocker. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. Smith has still teased fans with inconsistent play. After another concussion (not to mention other various injuries), his future with the team is in doubt. Considering his 10 million dollar salary next year, the Rams may look elsewhere for a starting RT.

Grade: D

Jacob Bell, G

Bell was briefly released by the team when the free agent frenzy began, but returned to the team with the blessings of a one year deal. Bell's been anywhere from average to above average, but nowhere near what anyone thought he would be when the Rams added Jason Brown and Rodger Saffold on either side of him. While he has been decent, he certainly isn't getting the idea of a contract year.

Grade: C

Harvey Dahl, G

His acquisition was more of a team gain than an individual upgrade. Sure, Adam Goldberg really wasn't starting material, but his nastiness looked like it would kick Jason Smith in the ass and help bring that mental edge to a team that so desperately needs it. While the Rams are 12th in Adjusted Line Yards (ALY) down the middle (up from 27th last year), it's clear Harvey hasn't instilled the mental edge we all hoped he would.

Grade: B-

Jason Brown, C

Brown unfortunately hasn't been living up to his huge deal a few years ago. It's clear that Brown was a huge part of the Rams success last year by calling out protection (as Sam Bradford doesn't seem to be able to do it), but he has not lived up to his contract so far this year. The Rams are best running the ball down the middle, but the FO didn't pay the line all this money for 12th best in the league. Sense a reoccurring theme?

Grade: C-

Adam Goldberg, OT

Goldberg has filled in adequately for Jason Smith, but it's clear he isn't the long term solution everyone is searching for. Still, his utility and experience can't be overlooked, and for a third tackle/guard, you can't really complain. He isn't starting material, but at least he has shown this year he can fill in when he is called upon.

Grade: C+

Tony Wragge, G

Wragge has impressed when on the field considering he wasn't a huge acquisition. Like Goldberg, he looks to be a pinch-hitter when it comes to playing time, but his edge, much like Dahl's, has been a welcome addition.

Grade: B

Mark LeVoir, OT

Mark LeVoir was brought in to provide some veteran depth on the offensive line. He obviously hasn't been counted on to produce on the field, but given the injury and poor play from the tackles, he could have his number called later in the year.

Grade: N/A

 

 

Overall, the Rams offensive line has been a huge problem. Ryan talked about spending money and extracting talent. The Rams have been able to do the prior, but not the latter. Rodger Saffold has regressed to the point that Alex Barron looks to be an upgrade, and Jason Smith hasn't done anything to calm fans fears that he is a bust. The inside of the line has been decent, but you can't forgive a line that allows so many sacks and QB pressures.

 

Collectively, the line will probably be looking for a mulligan after the year is through, and Steve Loney will probably be looking for a job.