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What will Rams offensive line look like this week?

The Rams are making more moves on the line, but things are getting back to normal

Los Angeles Rams Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

This isn’t the situation that Kevin Carberry expected to run into when he was hired as the Rams offensive line coach last year.

Taking over for Aaron Kromer in 2021, Carberry’s first offensive line with an NFL team (he previously spent three years at Stanford and worked as an NFL assistant in the years before that, but not as an OL coach) featured Andrew Whitworth, Rob Havenstein, David Edwards, Austin Corbett, and Brian Allen. Assuming Carberry won’t get credit for Big Whit’s impressive 16-year NFL resume, we could at least pat him on the back for turning Allen and Corbett into legitimate starters on a Super Bowl team.

He also benefited from ridiculously rare continuity. As I wrote last offseason, Matthew Stafford and Carberry were among those being added to an offense that had kept around a lot of names and faces who’d spent the entire Sean McVay era with the Rams, including Whitworth, Havenstein, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, and Robert Woods. Allen was entering his fourth season with the team, Edwards was going into his third, Corbett was a borderline first round pick in his third season with McVay.

If that was “easy mode” for Carberry, then 2022 is the “ultimate video game championship” from the movie The Wizard. I hope Carberry brought his power glove.

On Tuesday, the Rams announced that left tackle A.J. Jackson will be shutdown for the rest of the season because of blood clots and guard Chandler Brewer will go on injured reserve because of a knee injury. When it rains, it pours Noah shows up and floods the shit out of you.

Let’s review the five offensive line positions again headed into Week 11’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

Left Tackle - Ty Nsekhe (LT3)

Signed to the Rams on October 18, Nsekhe has bounced around football since going undrafted out of Texas State in 2009. He has played in the Arena Football League (2009-2012, 2015), the Canadian Football League (2014), and the Rams are the ninth team (including the St. Louis Rams in 2012) to sign him to an NFL contract.

Nsekhe has appeared in 96 games but only started 18 games over the last 10 years, including stints with the Rams, Commanders, Bills, and Cowboys. He will start against the Saints this Sunday, but that is only his third start over the last four years, including in Week 10’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Nsekhe hasn’t been guaranteed the start, but McVay seemed to hint in that direction earlier this week.

So how did the Rams get to this point? First Whitworth retired, then the Rams re-signed Joe Noteboom to a three-year deal worth up to $47.5 million. Noteboom is on IR and has been out since early in Week 6’s win over the Panthers. At that point, Jackson—who had already been starting as a fill-in for other OL injuries—moved over to left tackle. Now Jackson is out for the rest of the season, so Nsekhe (on the team for one month) is the first option and he seems to be backed up by Bobby Evans.

Bobby Evans is one bad snap away from being L.A.’s starting left tackle.

LG - David Edwards?

LG - Coleman Shelton?

LG - Bobby Evans?

Edwards missed Week 4’s loss to the 49ers, returned for Week 5, and has been out since Week 6. There is a chance that Edwards will be activated and start this week against the Saints. Edwards has played in 230 snaps out of a possible 557 (41.3%). The Rams have had to give Evans 272 offensive snaps (48.8%) this season, but if Edwards can return, then Shelton should move back to right guard, which is where he started in Week 1.

C - Brian Allen

Allen has played in 242 snaps (43.4%) this season. In his absence, the Rams have 188 snaps to Jeremiah Kolone (33.7%) and had to move Shelton out of his right guard spot when Allen was hurt, missing Weeks 2-6. Allen has now started the last three games.

Allen had a knee injury scare recently but seems okay. The Rams also signed Matt Skura during the season and he’s replaced Kolone as the primary backup, but he hasn’t had to make an offensive appearance yet.

RG - Coleman Shelton?

RG - Oday Aboushi?

Remember when Tremayne Anchrum had two snaps this season before getting hurt? That was RG2! The team had to almost immediately fall back on RG3! No, not THAT RGIII!

Shelton had to move from RG to C when Allen was hurt, but then Shelton was hurt. After winning the right guard job in the offseason, Shelton had to move to center and then he got injured 16 snaps into Week 4’s loss to the 49ers. He just returned last week after missing the previous four games.

Aboushi, signed to the practice squad in mid-September, had to play in 114 (20.5%) snaps, while Chandler Brewer got 117 (21%) this year before going on IR this week.

RT - Rob Havenstein

Amazingly, the Rams might have four of the five starters who they had in Week 1, minus Nsekhe for Noteboom. And if that player was A.J. Jackson, we could say that in fact these are the five best players that McVay could have had on his offensive line this season because Jackson outplayed Noteboom.

The ever-reliable Havenstein has played in 553 snaps, the most of any player on the team.

Though the Rams currently have Noteboom, Anchrum, Edwards, and Logan Bruss on IR, plus IR stints for Allen, Shelton, Jackson, and Brewer, somehow it seems like an activation for Edwards in Week 11 could return the offensive line somewhat back to “normal.”

No, it’s not what Kevin Carberry was coaching when he was brought along for a joy ride in 2021. But it’s better than what he’s had to deal with for the rollercoaster-from-hell in 2022.