The Los Angeles Rams are in the middle of a pretty quiet offseason.
While they made the first splash of the offseason trading Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, they’ve managed to stay relatively off the radar during free agency.
However, the Rams continue to rake in rewards and recognition throughout the league.
As a result, many football analysts see them as Super Bowl contenders. There are keys to their success, and one of those is at the offensive and defensive line.
Pro Football Focus released their ranking of NFL line units, and both the offensive and defensive lines ranked in the top 10. PFF ranked the Rams’ defensive line, lead by Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, No. 4 overall. Then ranked the offensive line at No. 8 overall.
So the question is, what makes these personnel units so successful?
For the defense, it’s hard not to equate it to Donald. According to PFF, despite consistently getting doubled and tripled teamed, he managed to record 456 pressures over the past five seasons. That’s almost 100 more pressure than any other defender.
Beyond Donald providing a lot of the defensive firepower at the line of scrimmage, he also elevates his teammates. With opposing offenses focusing heavily on him, other players like Leonard Floyd, Sebastian Joseph-Day, or Micha Kiser can get in the backfield.
There isn’t one player to attribute the offensive line’s success. However, the line’s bounce-back performance in 2020 probably boosted their PFF grade. The big reason was the very little to no turnover on the offensive line other than a few players moving positions. Not turnover is ideal for an offensive line. It allows for more cohesion because if one of them is off or misunderstands the other, the blocking scheme is messed up.
The offensive line will have something to work on this season. First, we’ll have to wait to see how Andrew Whitworth, the oldest lineman in the league, does in 2021. His return from an MCL and PCL injury was not very smooth as he didn’t play well in the postseason. Hopefully, with a few months off to rehab, he’ll be back to full strength.
The line will also have to deal with some turnover this season. Austin Blythe departed The Rams and will most likely be replaced by Brian Allen. Luckily for the Rams, it’s an in-house move. However, the last time Allen played center for the Rams, PFF graded him 58.6 overall and was poorest at pass protection. However, a year on the sidelines should be enough time to iron out the kinks.
Featured Image: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images