The Los Angeles Rams have had all offseason to sort out their offensive line, but like every procrastinating high schooler, they’re waiting until the last minute to hand in their assignment. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that they’re taking as long as possible to figure out their five starters, but it is a little bit surprising that kickoff is just days away and they still don’t know who will be protecting Matthew Stafford.
Or, that’s how they’re making it seem, at least.
“Figuring out that front five. Still doing it,” offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said Thursday. I’m sure it’ll sort its way out by 1:25 or whenever we play on Sunday, but every day, again, they’re still working through this thing and we feel we’ll put our best five out there.”
For the last few weeks, we’ve gotten at least a little bit of clarity on the offensive line. Alaric Jackson looks like the starting left tackle, Steve Avila will be at left guard and Rob Havenstein is locked in at right tackle. Tremayne Anchrum Jr. appears to have the edge at right guard over Joe Noteboom, but that may not be the case based on what LaFleur is saying. And the same goes for Coleman Shelton at center, with Brian Allen also competing there.
The Rams probably aren’t the only team taking this long to figure out their starting linemen, but there is a downside to it. It’s tougher to build chemistry up front and with the quarterback when guys are constantly rotating, especially at center.
“It definitely does,” LaFleur said of it affecting chemistry, “and so we got to be very strategic about each play that we put in in terms of who’s working combination blocks, both in the run game, who’s working on their slides and when they’re on the man side in protection, working off the game. So there’s a lot that goes into it in terms of making sure that we feel like they’re prepared to be able to – whatever five we put out there, going to have to be able to go out there and execute.”
What could make life even tougher for the offensive linemen this Sunday, whoever they may be, is the environment in Seattle. Most likely, the Rams will have to use a silent count because of the noise at Lumen Field, which is one of the loudest in the NFL.
That’s something the Rams are working on as the game approaches, but again, that’s tougher to get right when guys are rotating so often.
The Rams will sort it out sooner or later. They kind of have to with their first game coming up in two days. But ideally, they would’ve had this figured out much earlier.