THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In a 2023 offseason of change, one of the Rams' most important decisions focused on the offensive line.
An injury-ravaged 2022 season depleted that group's depth as quarterback Matthew Stafford took many hits in his own injury-shortened campaign. Meanwhile, the run game averaged 97.7 yards per contest, tied with the Vikings for fifth-fewest per game last year.
Adjustments were needed, and one of the key tweaks arrived in late August – after lots and lots of patience.
"So when you look at, especially (with) a lot of the things that occurred last year and how important the depth of the offensive line and the necessary things that we needed to be mindful of in regard to what occurred last year and to try to make sure that we're getting our ducks in a row to not have that same thing happen," Rams head coach Sean McVay said earlier this month. "I thought (Director of Pro Scouting) John McKay, (General Manager) Les (Snead), they did a great job of identifying a guy that had played a lot of football, a tough, physical brand of football, could play on the left or the right side of the offensive line that was potentially going to be available and continued to monitor that. That was something that we thought could come to fruition and then it obviously did towards the latter part of training camp."
That guy, of course, was offensive lineman Kevin Dotson.
Acquired from the Steelers just before the 53-man roster deadline, Dotson at this stage of the season personifies the reconfigured identity of the offensive line, playing a pivotal role in the shape it's taking.
The 2020 fourth-round pick likewise has found the right environment to flourish and play his best football.