The fans have spoken and the Los Angeles Rams have a clear problem above all else. Recent SB Nation Reacts polls show 60 percent of fans believe the offensive line is the biggest problem for the Rams, with another 20 percent citing injuries as the main cause of Los Angeles’ offensive issues. While injuries have certainly exasperated the degradation of the unit as the season has gone on, it’s not like they shined when health wasn’t a factor.
Despite their issues, the Rams are 9.5-point favorites over the Panthers in Week 6, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
L.A. entered Week1 against the Buffalo Bills in good shape, at least as far as health goes. No one position group shined in the season opener, culminating in a 31-10 loss. But there was one concern made abundantly clear in defeat; the Rams were going to have a hard time protecting Matthew Stafford (allowing seven sacks on the night) and creating lanes for whoever was playing running back.
Fast forward to Week 6 and nothing has gotten better. Averaging an unacceptable 16.8 pressures and 4.2 sacks allowed per game, L.A.’s o-line is on pace to surrender a mind boggling 285 pressures and 71 sacks this year. This is not something Matthew Stafford—or any quarterback for that matter—would be able to sustain without residual effects lasting long beyond one season.
Joe Noteboom has yet to live up to the lofty expectations left by his predecessor Andrew Whitworth, giving up five sacks already this year. David Edwards has been placed on short term injured reserve after suffering another concussion. Brian Allen has been out of action since suffering a knee injury in Week 1.
There’s been a revolving door at right guard since Coleman Shelton moved to center after Allen’s injury. Shelton has since found himself on I.R. with a high ankle sprain. Elder statesman Rob Havenstein has been less than impressive, yielding three sacks including the game-sealing sack fumble to an injured Micah Parsons, which all but wrapped up Los Angeles’ latest loss.
I knew we were bad, but worse than a Matt Rhule offense??— Raw Chili (@raw_chili) October 14, 2022
#California #Football #LosAngeles #LosAngelesRams #NationalFootballConference #NationalFootballConferenceWestDivision #NationalFootballLeague #NFL #Rams pic.twitter.com/HbNQiH6a71
The offense overall has suffered tremendously and has become increasingly one dimensional. The Rams have been unable to run the ball with Darrell Henderson or Cam Akers, who is now away from the team due to personal reasons. L.A. has only been able to muster 312 rushing yards, ranking last in the league. With no real running game to challenge defenses, the once deadly play action aspect of the offense is dead.
With no pass protection to speak of, forget stretching the field vertically. There just hasn’t been enough time allotted for routes to develop downfield. Defenses are now boxing in L.A.’s offense and there isn’t a one stop shop type of fix on the horizon.
Injuries are a part of the problem, but it’s an issue that all teams across the NFL must deal with and in the case of the Rams, they have certainly added to the problem. But injuries or not, if L.A. cannot solve their issues at offensive line, this season will continue to spiral out of control.
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