The Los Angeles Rams are set to report to training camp at UC-Irvine on July 25th, putting them just one Kyren Williams jersey number away from figuring out their starters on offense, defense, and special teams. Head coach Sean McVay has perhaps more to learn about his roster in 2023 than in any other year of his tenure as the Rams head coach.
When the Rams report to training camp in 23 days, McVay and his coaching staff have about six weeks from then to determine starters at virtually every position on defense except for Aaron Donald, although the veteran defensive tackle has skipped just about every offseason event of the offseason...whether it was mandatory or not.
McVay also has offensive competitions at receiver, offensive line, including left tackle, running back, tight end depth, and who will backup Matthew Stafford: Will it be rookie fourth round pick Stetson Bennett or free agent Brett Rypien?
Those competitions won’t necessarily stop on special teams, especially in figuring out the coverage teams, as the only kicker, punter, and longsnapper on the roster are all rookies. Whether L.A. brings in competition for punter Ethan Evans, kicker Tanner Brown, or longsnapper Alex Ward is yet to be seen. Who returns kicks and punts has also not yet been determined.
For the first time in his six-year tenure as the head coach, McVay is basically building the entire depth chart from the ground up with the exception of only a handful of veterans, assuming they are all healthy and ready to go for the fight of their lives when the season starts. This will undoubtedly be the least-experienced and untested defense in the history of Aaron Donald’s NFL career. Is he ready for that at age 32?
Is Stafford ready to go behind the least-experienced offensive line he’s had, with potential first-time players at both guard spots (Steve Avila, Logan Bruss), maybe A.J. Jackson at left tackle, and Brian Allen at center only if he’s healthy?
Is Cooper Kupp ready to be the Rams’ only experienced and proven starter at receiver, getting all of the attention of opposing defensive coordinators? We can assume that they are because these are three of the best players in the NFL, regardless of position, but McVay’s test begins with basically the 19 other starters on offense and defense, with only Tyler Higbee, Rob Havenstein, Jordan Fuller, Cam Akers, and Van Jefferson offering a little more of a glimpse into what they can do.
That starts in 23 days.