A major reason for failing offenses that has stuck with the Rams for over a decade is a very insubstantial offensive line. Inexperience and lack of coaching have played tremendous parts in this. Since taking the helm, Sean McVay knew he needed leadership to be added to this offensive line to protect QB1 Jared Goff. So, He brings in Aaron Kromer, a veteran offensive line coach coming from the Buffalo Bills to get it started. From there, he adds a couple other hardened key additions to the Rams line. This would prove to be a huge shift that would help McVay’s offense turn into a high powered success.
Though incredibly seasoned, Whitworth did take on many struggles. The left tackle gave up 6 sacks off of his young QB’s blindside. He started strong, but his age is becoming a factor. It’s definitely looking as if Whitworth is in his homestretch toward retirement. He’s now the oldest starting lineman in the league at 36 years old. The question will always be in mind: can Whitworth keep an elite level of play to help the Rams to another playoff appearance? 2018 will carry the answer for the tackle.
In his ninth year, Sullivan excelled at center, a position that has been a blank for the Rams for many seasons. The veteran center only allowed one sack this season. He was a key component in Goff’s success in 2017, and it should be certain that the Rams try to keep him around for a long time to keep that important center to quarterback connection between them.
The longest-tenured Ram, left guard Rodger Saffold had the best season of his eight-year career. Only allowing one sack all season. Countless times in game film, you’ll see Saffold always piledriving defenders downfield as a lead blocker for Todd Gurley, a significant reason in why the running back achieved the success he did this season. Saffold was also named an AP second-team All-Pro for his work this season. It’s almost a certainty the Rams will look to keep him, as he will become a free agent after 2018.
Jamon Brown & Rob Havenstein
On the right side of Goff and Todd Gurley, the Rams had younger faces in the league in guard Jamon Brown and tackle Rob Havenstein. Both have undergone a terrific turnaround due to Kromer’s excellent coaching, as well. Brown, only allowing two and a half sacks to his quarterback this season. Second-year man Havenstein played well on the right edge, even with a minor MCL injury. However, he allowed four sacks, some even strip sacks in crucial moments.
Overall Grade: B
With the offseason looming, improvements to coach Kromer’s line will certainly be made. During the 2017 season, the line as a whole looked composed and very capable of protecting Goff, as he threw for a career-high 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns in just 15 games. This team will have to add more depth to the roster this offseason, whether it’s through the draft or free agency. After a very successful first season coaching this particular offensive line, it should be noted that this ensemble will only get better and more tight-knit as they prep for many resilient defensive fronts they will face in 2018.
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