It’s early, but Rams’ O-line looks much better than it did in 2019

Cameron DaSilva
·2 min read

The Rams offense has gotten off to a strong start this season, ranking eighth in points scored and fifth in total yards. A big reason for that is the improved play from the offensive line, which was a huge weak spot of the team last year.

Jared Goff is getting more time in the pocket, which has gotten the play-action passing attack back to its 2017 and 2018 levels. Running lanes are easier to find for Cam Akers, Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson, leading to the league’s third-best rushing attack.

The most important player on the offensive line is 38-year-old Andrew Whitworth, who’s playing like he’s 28 and in the prime of his career. Despite going up against the likes of Aldon Smith, Everson Griffen, Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett, Whitworth is holding his own at left tackle.

In fact, he’s the highest-graded offensive lineman in the NFL through two weeks, according to Pro Football Focus.

He has yet to allow a sack in two games and has only committed one penalty, locking down the left side of the Rams’ offensive line next to Joe Noteboom and now David Edwards. Whitworth isn’t the only lineman playing at a high level, either.

Austin Blythe has a respectable 67.4 PFF grade at center with only one sack allowed, with Austin Corbett’s grade sitting at 74.3 with no sacks allowed. Rob Havenstein has allowed some pressure at right tackle, but he hasn’t given up a sack and his PFF grade is an impressive 76.3 after he ended last season at 50.9.

As a team, the Rams are only 17th in the NFL in ESPN’s pass block win rate metric, but they’re seventh in run block win rate, which means they’re opening up holes and preventing defenders from making plays at the line of scrimmage.

Individually, Whitworth, Corbett and Blythe have been among the best performers at their positions, the latter two in run block win rate.

It’s still early in the season and the Rams will face several more tests down the line, but the returns look good so far. Sean McVay’s play calling has been brilliant and protected the offensive line from having to sustain blocks for very long on straight dropbacks, but they’re executing the job they’re being asked to do.

So far, so good.