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The Rams' Offensive Line Ranks in the Bottom Five of the NFL

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27:  Quarterback Keith Null #9 of the St. Louis Rams snaps the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Rams 31-10.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
David LeonCorrespondent IJune 18, 2010

Yahoo Sports write Jason Cole just published a ranking of NFL offensive lines.  He claims the Saints have the best offensive line, and the Raiders have the worst.  

Where do the Rams stand in all this?  The Rams rank 28th.  You can read the story here.  

As is the case in any ranking system, his findings are somewhat debatable.  I find his ranking system is far too biased towards the running game.  It is a passing league.

However, many of his findings are roughly accurate.  He acknowledges places where his claims will be disputed, as in his ranking of the Patriots' OL.

Many Ram homers continue to propound that the Rams line is solid and was simply decimated by injuries last season.  They claim the line will be solid this season  This is a metaphysical belief rooted in faith rather than an analysis of fact.

The fact is that the Ram offensive line has allowed more sacks than any other over the last ten seasons: 40+ each year, every year, for the past ten years.  Apologists for the Rams' OL must begin with this fact, and they never do.  This empirical fact is always and forever avoided, while arcane and questionable indices are sited.

In sizing up the Rams' offensive line, we would do well to state as many objective facts as we can:

 

  • The Rams released starting right guard Richie Icognito for conduct detrimental to the team before the end of last season.
  • The Rams dealt frequently-penalized tackle Alex Barron to the Cowboys for LB Bobby Carpenter.
  • The Rams will be moving Jason Brown from right to left tackle, but...
  • Jason Brown, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft, missed half the season with a concussion last year.  He now has a broken toe.
  • Rodger Saffold, our second round pick in the 2010 draft, will be moving from college left tackle to pro right tackle, but he missed a large portion of OTAs with a strained knee.
  • Jacob Bell, an expensive $36 million dollar free agent has seldom lived up to the hype, tore his hamstring last year, and just had a minor Arthroscopic surgery on his knee.
  • Bell's backup, Steve Setterstrom, is out for the season with a torn tricep.
  • Adam Goldberg seems well.
  • Jason Smith, our ProBowl caliber center, seems well.
In a recent interview with Jim Thomas, Coach Spagnuolo acknowledged concerns. 
"I wouldn't panic, but I'd be a little bit worried. We'd have to put Billy (Devaney) to work to go and find some guys to get in here. But the good thing is you have some time to get these guys healed."  You can read the piece here.
In view of all these facts, the 28th place ranking is more than warranted, and perhaps too generous a gift.  
This highlights two facts:
  1. Not nearly enough was done during 2010 free agency and the draft to make repairs to the Rams line.
  2. We made an extremely high risk move in reaching for a frail QB with the No. 1 pick in the draft.
We will rue the day we passed on Alan Faneca when we could have grabbed him off waivers. Mark my words: Sam will be thrown head first into the shark tank, just as naked as a jay bird.

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