The Los Angeles Rams knew it was coming.
At the end of the 2017 season having lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the wild card round of the playoffs, the Rams knew they were going to have to remake their offensive line. There was a chance that not a single member of that line was going to be around when the Rams would move into their new stadium in Inglewood just three years later. They had to put together a plan that would remake the line over the next two seasons as they prepared for that move.
And that plan is crumbling.
The Rams re-signed RT Rob Havenstein and then made pretty significant investments in the O-line in the 2018 NFL Draft and 2019 NFL Draft. OL Joseph Noteboom, C Brian Allen and OL Jamil Demby all came in last year with OT Bobby Evans and OL David Edwards joining this offseason. Throw in OL Austin Blythe’s arrival as a rotational player who rose into the starting ranks, and you’ve got the makings of a transition plan. The investments were made. But they’re failing.
Whitworth and Havenstein have both regressed from their stellar 2018 form. Noteboom’s injury required more rotation on the interior and even spurred some panic purchases in OL Coleman Shelton as a 53-man roster victim with the Arizona Cardinals and a Noteboom injury move for OL Austin Corbett from the Cleveland Browns. That both featured yesterday tells you the state of things on the line.
Both Allen and Havenstein suffered knee injuries yesterday in the Rams’ stunted 12-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a brutal outcome from a horrible showing from the line that offers little inspiration moving forward.
The plan for the Rams’ line is figuratively and literally crumbling.
So yes, the Rams will likely need to make further investments on the line in the upcoming offseason. With Whitworth all but certain to retire and Blythe a free agent, the Rams’ 2020 Week 1 offensive line could feature two new members compared to the 2019 Week 1 offensive line. And that’s what maybe most daunting.
The Rams need a plan for how to fix their offensive line moving forward. Because the one had for this year?
It has already failed.