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Thread: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

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    Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    By Randy Karraker
    September 14, 2012



    I thought it was interesting to watch the Packers and the Bears on Thursday Night Football, to see the difficulties both teams are having with their offensive lines.

    The Packers have major issues at left tackle with Marshall Newhouse now starting. He’s had a great deal of difficulty in the first two games. His backup, Derek Sherrod, is out with a leg injury. So a rookie by the name of Don Barklay is the number one backup at both tackle positions in Green Bay. Clearly, the Packers have problems to deal with after giving up five sacks to the Bears on the heels of giving up three to San Francisco.

    The Bears are starting a line of J’Marcus Webb, who protected Keith Null and practiced against Eugene Sims at West Texas A&M, at left tackle…Seahawks castoff Chris Spencer at left guard…then Roberto Garza at center, Lance Louis at right guard, and Gabe Carimi at right tackle. None of those players are Pro Bowl types, and they showed vs. the Packers that, as a unit, they need lots of work. Jay Cutler was sacked seven times, and the Bears had just 96 yards on the ground.

    That’s just a snapshot of offensive line problems throughout the league. On Sunday night, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times, and the Steelers ran for just 75 yards against Denver. Starting left tackle Max Starks has spent periods between being a Steeler and being out of football the last couple of years. Left guard Willie Colon used to be a right tackle. The Steelers tried to replace right guard Ramon Foster with first round draft choice David DeCastro, who landed on injured reserve. The usually contending Steelers have major questions on the offensive line.

    The Super Bowl Champion Giants are starting another former Seahawk, Sean Locklear, who struggled at right tackle, at left tackle. Waiver wire pickup Kevin Boothe is their left guard. Eli Manning was sacked three times and hit numerous others in the Giants opener. Their opening opponent, Dallas is playing Tyron Smith, who has NEVER played left tackle, at left tackle. They have serious problems at guard, with two new players there, and Doug Free is having difficulty adjusting to the left side. Tony Romo was sacked twice and was on the run for much of the Cowboys’ opener.

    Philadelphia lost left tackle Jason Peters to an Achilles injury during the off-season, and signed Demetress Bell away from Buffalo. Bell was beat out by King Dunlap, who was a mediocre right tackle. Evan Mathis, who couldn’t cut it with Indianapolis, is Philly’s starting left guard. The result? Michael Vick was harassed into four interceptions against Cleveland.

    The Ravens just benched their left tackle, Bryant McKinnie, to put disappointing former first rounder Michael Oher at that position, and start rookie Kelechi Osemele on the right side. The Jets are starting an undrafted rookie at right tackle after Wayne Hunter couldn’t cut it at right tackle there. The Patriots have a first year starter at center because Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters didn’t come back to them, and nominal replacement Robert Gallery retired. So St. Louisan Dan Connolly moved from center to guard, and Ryan Wendell took over at center.

    The Saints are concerned about their tackles, Jermon Bushrod and Zach Streif. The Bucs lost their best offensive lineman, Davin Joseph, to a season ending knee injury, and Atlanta has concerns about their tackles, Sam Baker and Garrett Reynolds, who did play well in their opener against Kansas City.

    It’s somewhat remarkable that the only great, healthy offensive line in the entire NFL belongs to the San Francisco *****. Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathon Goodwin, Alex Boone and Anthony Davis are all above average blockers, and there haven’t been any injury issues for the ***** to deal with. While Alex Smith was sacked four times by Green Bay, he was at fault for at least a couple of those. And, the ***** ran for 186 yards in their opener.

    I point this out because, as we focus on the Rams, they aren’t much different than the rest of the league. Sure, we wish Jason Smith would have worked out, and that Scott Wells was healthy and Rodger Saffold was a lock to be great. Actually, the only Rams offensive lineman that isn’t a major question right now is right guard Harvey Dahl. But Paul Boudreau has a history of building quality units among his offensive lines.

    With their injuries and their talent level, the Rams’ offensive line certainly leaves something to be desired. But they aren’t alone. This is a league of question marks up front. The Rams can join the club.


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    Re: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    Jay Cutler was completely disfunctional vs the packers. The reason being, his o line was horrible.

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    Re: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    Where are the Orlando Pace's, Jonathan Ogden's, and Walter Jones' in today's NFL? Must be playing basketball or defensive line...

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    Re: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Mob 71 View Post
    Where are the Orlando Pace's, Jonathan Ogden's, and Walter Jones' in today's NFL? Must be playing basketball or defensive line...
    Good question. I don't think the upper echelon offensive tackles in the league today are quite as heralded as some of the ones in previous years have been, but I also don't think they've been quite as consistently good either. It would be interesting to have a discussion on how the changing nature of the game towards a more pass-friendly league has affected the quality and consistency of offensive lineman in the NFL.

    As for the Rams, well, it seems as if other teams are in a similar boat as St. Louis is. I don't think the Rams' offensive line played great last week, but I don't think they were downright awful either. Bradford was sacked three times, but otherwise wasn't hit or hurried very often. There wasn't much room for Jackson to run though, and in an offense centered around pounding the rock with your workhorse back, that's a concern. But it's interesting to keep in mind that the Rams aren't alone when it comes to these kinds of concerns.
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    Re: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    What's interesting to me is that with some teams moving towards very pass-oriented offenses the past several years that you see a lot of NFL OT's that aren't good at pass blocking. You'd assume you would have a bunch of OT's out there that might be awful in run blocking but could protect the QB at least.

    I think the defenses are out-coaching and out-scheming offenses at times. Sure, during the regular season, you're going to see some offenses looking unstoppable and racking up tons of yards and points. Then, the playoffs come around and the SB. Coughlin/NYG have shown that they can slow down even the most potent offenses out there enough to stay in a game and win it. NE showed it against the Rams also and the Titans damn near did to years ago.

    I just don't see a lot of potentially great linemen being drafted or even very solid guys who can be coached up a level. Jason Smith went #2 overall and years before would of been a mid-round project type. That shows how far the talent has dropped-off in the OL position. Jason Brown was considered to be good and promising center/guard and given the highest contract in NFL history for a center and is now out of football after two terrible seasons.

    I don't know what is going on.......with 3-4 defenses, DL doesn't get a lot of glory or usually a lot of cash either. The DE's in a 4-3 can rack up some $$$ like Long and numerous other sack machines, but I don't see that as being a reason why players might be going to the DL instead of OL. OT's can make even more than elite pass rushers in the NFL and that would seem to be a motivation for perfecting your craft on the OL instead of switching. You got me?
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    Re: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    Are O linemen getting worse as the years go by? Or are Defensive linemen getting stronger and faster?

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    Re: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
    Are O linemen getting worse as the years go by? Or are Defensive linemen getting stronger and faster?
    In the past the best athletes were on the offensive side of the ball. Nowadays its reversed. 10 years ago u didnt have 270lb DEs running sub 4.6 40s. But we have the same type of ol today that we did 10yrs ago.. the most unathletic group on the football field, no question asked...

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    Re: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    Football, like many team sports, is a game of adjustments. It is the coach/player who can effectively make in-game changes to a game plan or to a play call that will be successful in the NFL. And if you have a unit that is deficient, you try to mask it. As the title of the thread says, the Rams are hardly the only team in football with question marks on its offensive line.

    The answer as I see it is two-fold. One, the QB has to release the ball quicker. He has to know what he's doing with the football in every imaginable situation- certainly not easy, but absolutely necessary. And two, the coaching staff needs to implement a game plan which emphasizes quick throws, check downs and high percentage plays. Three step drops as opposed to five. Allowing the QB to hold onto the football for those extra couple of seconds is suicide.

    If a guy is under constant duress, that's on the offensive line. If a guy isn't getting rid of the football in timely fashion, the QB is partly to blame.

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    Re: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    When i read this, it makes me think we need to understand we most likely never have the perfect storm here given the trend with OL in the league. We can hope wish etc but we are where we are. This year, I think we will see a different result from our beloved Rams. I am so confident in our coaching staff (yes, we truly have one now!!) that i just see them getting the most out of what and who we have with schemes adjustments and motivation. One of my favorite all time Ram player....Jackie Slater. That was a lineman. What would a guy like that corner on the market today ??

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    Re: Rams are not alone with O-Line problems ..

    Quote Originally Posted by macrammer View Post
    When i read this, it makes me think we need to understand we most likely never have the perfect storm here given the trend with OL in the league. We can hope wish etc but we are where we are. This year, I think we will see a different result from our beloved Rams. I am so confident in our coaching staff (yes, we truly have one now!!) that i just see them getting the most out of what and who we have with schemes adjustments and motivation. One of my favorite all time Ram player....Jackie Slater. That was a lineman. What would a guy like that corner on the market today ??
    Jackie Slater sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone. There will never be another Jackie Slater!

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