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Rams midseason grades: The offensive line has been the brightest spot on offense

Most of them should also be returning in a year

New York Giants v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images

I’m not sure if it’s the advanced stats site that gets used the most, I’ve rarely seen it mentioned, but the SportsInfoSolutions Datahub has been a more consistent resource for me than ProFootballFocus. Just because a website wants to translate an opinion into a digit, that doesn’t make a grade the same thing as a stat. It’s only an opinion.

Calling a “blown block” at SIS is also only an opinion, but at least I can use real numbers instead of made-up ones.

Are people really going around saying:

“Did you hear that Becton has a 67.3?”

“What? No. Seriously? That can’t be right.”

“Dead sear.”

“Just say that whole word.”

“Don’t tell me what to do, Marc. And yes, he got a 67.3.”

“Seems more like he’s a 75.3 to me, but I guess that’s why they pay Cris Collinsworth to do the math!”

“I hate you, Marc. I’ve always hated. In fact, I never even knew your moth-”

And so on, you get the point. We’ve all had that conversation. Personally, I can’t understand what anyone’s doing with a grade, I can only understand why it’s a comfortable sweatshirt to wear. The regular viewing audience doesn’t know much about most football plays — I know from experience — and they know even less about offensive linemen. They aren’t scoring touchdowns unless it’s for a GIF. They aren’t getting handoffs, totaling sacks, or picking off passes.

They are the thankless giants and a lot of people are looking for ways to understand why they can thank them. And more importantly for some, why they can direct all their anger and vitriol at them.

Through the first eight games of the LA Rams 2020 season, I think you can put away your pitchforks and your grades and simply thank them.

According to SIS, Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein have been the two most successful tackles in the NFL this season. Whitworth has blown two pass blocks and two run blocks over 428 snaps with five penalties per their numbers. Havenstein has three blown pass blocks and five blown run blocks with one penalty in his own 428 snaps.

The Cleveland Browns had almost immediate buyer’s remorse with Austin Corbett and the Rams acquired him last year for a day three pick. He’s been a quality starter in between Havenstein and Austin Blythe, with SIS blaming him for four blown pass blocks, three blown run blocks and only one penalty in 428 snaps.

Every linemen other than David Edwards has played in all 428 snaps, something else that LA didn’t have from it’s o-line a year ago.

Blythe, re-signed to a modest one-year deal in March, has zero penalties this season. He has blown six pass blocks and three run blocks. For some context, 27 offensive linemen have been blamed for more than six blown pass blocks this season. Giants rookie Andrew Thomas: 21 blown pass blocks. Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher: 12. 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey: nine.

The Rams offense is such that you won’t see many sacks taken, so that’s going to help their performance as a unit, but then we can transfer some credit to Les Snead and Sean McVay for getting the most out of this group despite only having one elite player and only one other lineman besides Whitworth getting paid significant money.

Edwards has played in 326 snaps after replacing Joseph Noteboom, allowing three blown pass blocks, three blown run block and only one penalty.

Whitworth is also SIS’s highest-rated run blocker, with Havenstein, Corbett and Blythe not far behind.

Though this unit is coming off of its worst game of the season in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins, I can’t ignore how much better they did than expectations and that the whole picture says this is one of the best in the league through eight weeks. Which also means that they are one of the best values.

If there’s any sort of grade that I will care to use to reference them though, it won’t be of the number variety. Because it is only an opinion.

Grade: A-


What grade would you give the Rams o-line at the midpoint?

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