The Los Angeles Rams entered Monday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3 with a great opportunity to bounce back from their Week 2 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Bengals were winless on the season and Joe Burrow was dealing with an ailing calf that limited his mobility. However, the Rams were unable to take advantage of the situation and wound up losing 19-16.
The offense struggled to find a rhythm in the second half, especially after Alaric Jackson was forced to exit the game due to a thigh injury. Without Jackson to man the left tackle spot, Cincinnati’s defensive front was able to tee off on Matthew Stafford, who was sacked six times on the night.
Zach Thomas was called upon to replace Jackson and he clearly struggled against the Bengals pass rush. Sean McVay explained that during the game he felt it was best to keep Thomas at left tackle instead of reconfiguring the line on the fly, via Dan Greenspan of USA Today:
“Zach Thomas had done a really good job with a lot of the repetitions that he had gotten, and felt like making a two-man switch wasn’t in the best interest,” McVay said Monday.
“We’ll look at the tape and figure out if that’s something that we want to do moving forward if Alaric is out for an extended period of time.”
McVay is referring to a situation where Joseph Noteboom could’ve slid to left tackle and someone else could have come in at right guard. Noteboom also briefly went to the sideline with a knee injury, though he was able to come back just a few plays later.
With a shorter week, McVay might opt to go with Thomas as the starter though it sounds like he’s open to the idea of Noteboom starting there as well. If McVay decides to keep Thomas and Noteboom where they are, then the Rams could possibly call up AJ Arcuri from the practice squad to give some depth if Jackson is out.
Offensive line woes were the reason Los Angeles’ offense never got off the ground during the 2022 season and that issue seems to be rearing its head again. If the line struggles again like it did against the Bengals, then the Rams could be in for another long afternoon this Sunday when they continue their road trip against the Indianapolis Colts.