Bruss didn’t play well in minimal preseason snaps as a rookie, but a major knee injury took him out in his second preseason game and he was out the whole season. After playing at right guard for the majority of two years with the Rams, the team just moved him to right tackle a week ago where he played as Wisconsin.
It didn’t go well there either.
In Saturday’s game, Bruss was the team’s lowest-graded player in pass protection and was credited with giving up four pressures. While he did have some good moments, there looked to be a lot of room for improvement. It is worth noting that he was the Rams’ highest-graded run blocker.
“The biggest thing I wanted to get out of this game was getting confidence, feeling good again. There’s confidence in playing fast, full-speed, and just to come out of this game feeling healthy — last time I was on an NFL field, things didn’t turn out so well. Just getting that mental confidence and getting past that mental block of, ‘I’m not hurt anymore, I’m healthy (and) feeling good,’ that was the biggest thing for me. … Moving back out to tackle, I had not done that in a game in the NFL. Made some mistakes in the pass pro (protection). All things that are easily correctible. I learned some lessons, I know how I can be better.”
There are some things worth mentioning here. For starters, this was Bruss’ first game back as he returned from a major knee injury. Bruss tore both his ACL and MCL last year against the Houston Texans and it has most certainly been a long road back with a lot of mental hurdles.
Additionally, while Bruss did play right tackle at Wisconsin, it wasn’t something that he had done since 2021 or at the NFL level. As soon as the Rams drafted Bruss last year, he was pegged as an Austin Corbett replacement. Therefore, the Rams trained him at right guard — a position that he hadn’t played since 2020.
Bruss started the offseason at right guard and then was moved to right tackle a week ago when it was announced by the team. A few things can be true here at the same time. Bruss hasn’t played well, but it hasn’t all been bad either. There are things to build on, especially when it comes to his work in the run game.
Additionally, while we can say that Bruss hasn’t played well, at what point are the Rams also a little bit at fault? They drafted a right tackle with the intention of moving that player inside to guard. This was despite the fact that he had just 375 snaps on the inside in four years at Wisconsin. Meanwhile, he had 1,574 snaps at right tackle.
After training Bruss to play at guard for much of two years, a week before the first preseason game, they decide to officially switch him back to right tackle where he hasn’t played since his last year at Wisconsin. The Rams have been moving Bruss around and he hasn’t the opportunity to settle in and focus on one spot.
It’s up to Bruss to play well, but it’s up to the team to put that player in a position to succeed. Combined with bad luck with the knee injury, both team and player seem to be at fault here.
At the end of the day, this is a player that was drafted with the 104th overall pick. Yet, he seems to have the expectations of a player who was drafted inside the top-50. Developing him may just take time. It hasn't helped that the Rams have had to reset that clock by changing his position.
The timing of the position change for Bruss is especially noteworthy. Was moving him to right tackle a last-ditch effort for him to perform before having to admit a potential mistake?
The Rams are going to have some difficult decisions to make, especially when it comes to the offensive line. Would they end up keeping 10 offensive linemen or will they stay right below that number and keep nine? It’s going to be something to monitor.
What makes the situation especially interesting is what happened on Saturday evening. While Bruss was the team’s top run-blocker, that’s only one aspect of the game. He needs to get more well-rounded and improve in pass protection. Meanwhile, Zach Thomas had a very good game at left guard, and even took some snaps at left tackle. He gave up just one pressure in 56 snaps and was the Rams’ second-best offensive lineman according to PFF.
At this point in time, it might make more sense for the Rams to keep Thomas and cut Bruss. With Bruss’ injury and rocky performances, they could attempt to get him on the practice squad. This may be the best option for Bruss’ development moving forward instead of continuously putting him in unfair situations in which he’s set up to fail.
The issue is that the Rams don’t have a lot of depth at right tackle behind Rob Havenstein. Warren McClendon played right tackle at Georgia, but was at left tackle for the majority of the game on Saturday. Joe Noteboom can play left guard if needed as well. The Rams are a lot more thin on the right side than the left.
This isn’t a decision that the Rams have to make right now, but it might be something that they need to consider. With Bruss coming off of a major injury, does it make more sense to cut him and try to get him on the practice squad? This may help Bruss’ overall development and they would be able to keep a versatile player like Zach Thomas.
To be clear, this isn’t me advocating for the Rams to cut Bruss. He’s played exactly 2.5 preseason games in his career which is obviously way too soon to consider him a bust. Bruss is a player that must may require some patience, especially after switching positions and coming off of a major injury.
The Rams need to try to find their best 9-10 guys on the offensive line. The questions remains, is Logan Bruss one of them?