clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

If Rams had a “do-over”, how would they shuffle offensive line for 2023?

Incumbents failed to win starting jobs. Would Rams make changes if they had the time?

Los Angeles Chargers v Los Angeles Rams
OT Warren McClendon in first preseason game of 2023
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It’s easy to put too much stock into training camp reports and preseason performances, but the last month or so hasn’t reflected well on the offensive line for the Los Angeles Rams.

LA expected multiple players that they had invested draft capital and salary cap resources into to win starting jobs, now weeks later Joe Noteboom has ceded ground to Alaric Jackson and left tackle and Coleman Shelton has emerged at center over Brian Allen. The Rams also tried Noteboom at right guard, but Tremayne Anchrum took the starting reps in joint practices against the Las Vegas Raiders while Noteboom was mysteriously absent and will reportedly not participate for the rest of the week.

While it’s easier to tell yourself that Jackson, Shelton, and Anchrum—who are all either undrafted players or former late seventh rounders—stepped up to earn their apparent starting roles, there’s also the possibility that Noteboom and Allen fell short of expectations despite the team’s previous investments in them. We won’t know how the offensive line will fare until they take the field September 10th versus the Seattle Seahawks, and they will be tested heavily with the next two games coming against the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s possible that the offensive line holds up and we never look back, but it’s also fair to be skeptical considering how these players don’t come from pedigreed backgrounds and the Rams have a first-time position coach.

It’s all about finding the best five linemen for the regular season. Did the Rams accomplish that over training camp? If they had a do-over and could go back to the start of camp, would they handle the lineup differently?

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

If Rams had a “do-over”, how would they shuffle offensive line for 2023?

Current starting lineup (unofficial):

LT - Alaric Jackson

LG - Steve Avila (rookie)

C - Coleman Shelton

RG - Tremayne Anchrum

RT - Rob Havenstein

The Rams penciled in Avila at left guard and haven’t moved him over camp since, and that is an admirable decision. The learning curve at the professional level is already steep enough, it’s unwise to make it more difficult by asking a rookie to learn multiple positions. In the same vein, Shelton has played at both center and guard in the past—but we’ve only seen him play at center over camp.

Anchrum is probably the biggest question mark of this group, and it’s fair to wonder whether he’s a top-five lineman on this team. If the Rams could go back and start over, would they instead play Avila at center and potentially move either Shelton or Noteboom to guard from the start of camp? While Shelton has a notable amount of experience at center, fans seem to be more positive on his performance than reality might reflect.

Would you have more confidence in the following offensive line?

LT - Alaric Jackson

LG - Tremayne Anchrum / Joe Noteboom

C - Steve Avila (rookie)

RG - Coleman Shelton

RT - Rob Havenstein

Shelton entered last season as the starting right guard but shifted to center once Allen went down with injury. Anchrum has mostly played on the right side over his career, but it seems better to leave Shelton on the right side. Would LA have been better off starting Noteboom at guard from the first day of training camp instead of competing at LT with Jackson—perhaps he would have a more adept understanding of the position at this point and it would have been a meaningful camp battle.

The Rams’ last minute changes to the starting OL lineup over the second week of the preseason should raise red flags. If they could go back in time and re-shuffling their offensive line would they?