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The path to a dominant offensive line


Mr. Scot
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1 minute ago, SmokinwithWilly said:

Finding guys that can go from college to the pro level is getting harder and harder. I really think they need a developmental league outside of college that can help players develop into NFL capable players.

I'm on board with that idea.

Wish the NFL was 😕

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Well, I hope we drafted well with Christensen and Brown and I hope the development is going well because we need upgrades sooner rather than later. I want to compete. I want to see what Darnold can develop into behind a serviceable OL, but I don't think this current group of starters can manage to become that.

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This has to be the major reason they wanted a vet QB vs a drafted rookie.  They couldn’t get the seasoned vet, so they got the young kid with lousy NFL experience. The battering rams on defense get a chance to have a feast on the  QB.  
 

It is smart to pump up the D though, that can be strengthened right away……the offense was able to score enough points to win, even with a subpar oline, but the defense can’t give up 38 points.

Edited by 1usctrojan
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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, LinvilleGorge said:

Well, I hope we drafted well with Christensen and Brown and I hope the development is going well because we need upgrades sooner rather than later. I want to compete. I want to see what Darnold can develop into behind a serviceable OL, but I don't think this current group of starters can manage to become that.

 

From our buddy Ellis...

 

Edited by Mr. Scot
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32 minutes ago, Mr. Scot said:

It's one that can work, but it's gonna take time.

Great response.  It will take a lot of work but I have faith in our coaching staff to give us a good season this year.  Might even go to the playoffs.  Watch next year and beyond.

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26 minutes ago, SmokinwithWilly said:

Finding guys that can go from college to the pro level is getting harder and harder. I really think they need a developmental league outside of college that can help players develop into NFL capable players.

Wasn't that thought of a few years back? They may have even tried something.  Maybe you or someone has the answer to that.

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Here's the problem:

This past draft, we took two offensive linemen. Christensen in the 3rd and Brown in the 6th, both being touted as good pick-ups and possibly steals in the draft (at least here on the Huddle). 

We also gave a big contract extension to Taylor Moton, our RT who had shown himself to be not just starting quality but one of the most reliable in the league.

That's addressing three out of five of the positions on the line. We then went out and grabbed Cam Erving to be our LT (a first round draft pick in 2015 who has played for KC, Cleveland and Dallas --  grabbing an oft-injured tag along the way). We also grabbed Pat Elflein who had a few games as a starter for the Jets and had prior to that been a lineman for the Vikings at guard and center. John Miller, who had been on a one year contract was also re-upped to continue play here. Paradis was retained, apparently to join the roller-skating league team Tepper will be purchasing soon.

So, they did address the o-line through the draft AND free agency to the best of their ability this season.

 

And... that's what sucks about this.

The two draftees were either unready or unable to compete at this level and they've pretty much just been playing grab-ass on the bench or just struggling to get (into) a jersey. Maybe there's hope but considering the beating our QB has taken and the limited openings in the run game, you'd have to think they'd have tried the guys out if they were third tier linemen players at all.

Erving has been a turnstyle and seems to be tiptoeing around the medical trainer's office hoping to get a sick pass. Elflein pulled a hammy somehow and is on IR watching the games from his La-Z-Boy. Miller has been, well, the best of that bunch (barring Moton) even though there are stretches where he has literally disappeared. Paradis has greatly developed his abilities to rollerskate backwards while looking ahead which has allowed him to fall on a couple of fumbles, take that for the faint praise it is.

And Moton, well, he's looking good but mainly in comparison to his line-mates. His quiet season so far would, on another mid-level to good team might possibly draw him some mehs or complaints.

When it comes to helping the line out, remember that we had not just a re-alignment of the TE room (keeping only Ian Thomas from last year) but an expansion of that group like never seen before. And that, sadly, hasn't been much of a help.

In the end, FItterer and Rhule both worked hard on this offensive line this past season, bringing in new personnel from the draft AND free agency. Right now, it looks like in all honestly that they may just not be very good at evaluating or training linemen. 

Like I said in another post, we have to be sure we don't confuse busy with good.

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Jourdan Rodrigue has a fantastic long form article on the Rams' offensive line today.  

https://theathletic.com/2860335/2021/10/06/its-our-responsibility-to-make-sure-these-skinny-guys-get-their-glory-rams-ol-a-bright-spot-through-4-weeks/

It's a great read.  (Though it makes me sad all over again that we passed over Whitworth when he was available.... sigh. [And yes, I was one of the folks that thought he might be "too old" and was supportive of giving Matt Kalil a try.  UGH. Boy was I wrong, and so was our front office.]

It gives me some hope though that outside of Whitworth, they gave some young, unheralded guys a chance, and they're jelling.

Quote

 

It’s been a long journey to get to where this group is. They faced notorious re-shuffling at various points throughout the 2019 season, and it wasn’t a standout year for many of the same players who are blossoming now. That year, they also lost Allen to injury (the following season he would also miss the spring after testing positive for COVID-19, and then essentially had to restart his rehab after so much time spent recovering from the illness and having to be away from the facility).

Then in 2021, the Rams parted ways with Austin Blythe, the center who took over for Allen after the injury, in free agency. A couple months later, they didn’t draft any depth at center or elsewhere along the line despite the eligible class being heralded as one of the better ones for interior linemen in recent years, and instead shifted Corbett into the center role where he took the entirety of first-team snaps well into training camp. With just a week left in Irvine, Calif. — where the Rams hold the initial phase of camp — they swapped Allen into the starting role, without him having taken a live rep there since 2019. It was a move many questioned at the time, but Allen has taken to the role like a bulldog to a steak and is getting the job done by any means necessary.

“I continued to say, ‘if you just give these guys some time to actually play in NFL games, and grow up and mature,” Whitworth said. “(Now) we’ve got really got a young line — outside of myself — who is kind of growing into who they’re going to be as football players. They’ve played, they’ve seen a lot of things. So now they’re just getting a chance to work on their talent level and their execution level, things like that. And you’re seeing the fruit of it.”

 

 

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There's just not enough good lineman in the NFL anymore. It's just a lack of talent and it's why more than not teams have bad Olines. I know NO picks up a lineman almost every years simply because they know that's how you get them. 

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5 minutes ago, Snake said:

There's just not enough good lineman in the NFL anymore. It's just a lack of talent and it's why more than not teams have bad Olines. I know NO picks up a lineman almost every years simply because they know that's how you get them. 

I agree with that strategy.  In the next few drafts we should be taking at a minimum 2 offensive linemen each year.  There is not going to be a franchise LT just out there waiting to be traded for or signed, so we are going to have to do it ourselves, the old fashioned way. 

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