Another day, another set of worry lines appearing on Nick Foles' once youthful brow regarding the Rams' offensive line. Today's dose of rapid aging is brought to you by the ever dour Evan Silva.
Lack of urgency by #Rams to put capable starters on their O-Line is pretty amazing/alarming. Easily NFL's worst OL on paper pre-draft.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) April 21, 2015
Let's define "capable starters."
Tim Barnes (signed March 30th for camp money, started 4 of a possible 64 games) doesn't count. Garrett Reynolds (signed March 17, started 23 of a possible 80 games) was signed as a swing player and emergency starter. If we were generous, that might count for 25% of a capable starter.
That brings the Rams' total number of signed starters under contract to 2 1/4.
Another way of putting it: the total number of games started by all current Rams OL is 99, or barely more than one full season per starting spot. The often-injured Rodger Saffold claims 60 of those 99 starts, and no one is sure which position he will play.
A final way of putting it: the total number of complete 16-game seasons started by any member of the current Rams OL: 2. Both by Saffold (2010, 2014).
Despite having clear and obvious intentions of improving at nearly every other facet of the game, the Rams' plan on offensive line -- perhaps the single most important part of establishing a coherent offensive identity -- is as inscrutable as ever.
The Rams had shown some kind of interest in center Stefan Wisniewski (started 61 of 64 possible games), but let him get away to Jacksonville for an extremely modest one-year deal. They had shown mild interest in former Falcon Justin Blalock (started 125 of 128 possible games), but signed Reynolds instead four days after Blalock's visit here ended. Their pace of talks with Joe Barksdale (started 29 of 32 possible games for the Rams) has been languid at best.
Meanwhile, there have been 42 OL signed or acquired by trade by NFL teams not named Barnes or Reynolds so far this offseason, according to Spotrac. The number of "capable starters" in that bunch are limited and prices have been inflated by the NFL's expanded salary cap, but you can't say the Rams didn't have opportunities to be aggressive in this front.
You can look at the upcoming draft and easily imagine Brandon Scherff or Cameron Erving being a top priority. You can look at the Rams' current young talent and project growth from Greg Robinson, and if you're feeling extremely charitable, from Barrett Jones and his twice-repaired spine.
But one thing you can't do right now is write out a lineup card for the 2015 Rams OL that includes "capable NFL starters" in more than two or three spots. And if you're counting on anything from Nick Foles, Tre Mason or the Rams offense in general, that's a huge worry.