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Winners and Losers from Rams first week of padded practices in training camp

We are starting to get answers surrounding LA’s offensive line depth chart

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

The Los Angeles Rams are wrapping up their second week of training camp. Position battles are heating up, players are starting to separate themselves from the competition, some are falling behind, and anticipation is building for the preseason games.

Who has stood out over the first 14 days or so of camp?


Sean McVay, Head Coach

The Rams’ lead man seems reinvigorated this training camp as the team looks to return to its competitive roots from McVay’s early years and throw fear of failure out of the window.

McVay’s criticism of a lackluster, undisciplined practice this week was also very refreshing. LA’s head coach knows a roster filled with more than 40 rookies doesn’t have the luxury to waste quality practice opportunities, and things seemed cleaner in the couple of days that followed that criticism.

Demarcus Robinson, WR

There are certainly more days where Demarcus Robinson comes down with a huge grab than he’s quiet, and the veteran WR is quickly ascending LA’s ranks.

The only question is how far can he climb before he hits a ceiling? Van Jefferson’s hold on WR#2 is slipping, as he’s already had two veteran rest days and has been fairly quiet when he’s been on the field. Tutu Atwell is heating up after making waves in minicamp, and Puka Nacua has been a human hype machine since he was drafted this spring.

Is Robinson in camp to help the maturation process of rookie Stetson Bennett, or can he truly contend for playing time and take opportunities away from Jefferson, Atwell, and others?

Alaric Jackson, OT

Coleman Shelton, C

The starting offensive line is starting to take shape. Jackson is separating himself from Joe Noteboom at left tackle. Meanwhile, Shelton seems to be the favorite to start at center over Brian Allen.

In most clips from training camp, the starting OL seems to be something along the following lines:

LT - Jackson

LG - Steve Avila

C - Shelton

RG - Tremayne Anchrum / Logan Bruss

RT - Rob Havenstein

That just leaves us with a relative question at right guard, though Anchrum has been mixing in with the first stringers often.

Christian Rozeboom, MLB

Ernest Jones will be the man in the middle of LA’s defense and probably the team’s “green dot” guy and signal caller. While the Rams probably won’t deploy a second middle linebacker often—other than obvious rushing downs and goal line situations—Rozeboom has a regular contributor with the starting defense.

It’s something worth keeping an eye on, especially if Jones misses time with an injury.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Desjuan Johnson, DT

Anytime you draw praise from a pro football hall of famer, it’s a good thing. Anytime you draw comparisons to a future hall of famer, well, that is also a good thing. Both of those good things happened to Johnson this week when Jackie Slater said that the rookie reminded him of Aaron Donald.

Does that mean much? Not at this point. But Johnson is competing for a roster spot while fellow rookie DT Kobie Turner has received most of the spotlight. Will that change soon?

Ahkello Witherspoon, CB

Even after having surgery on his hand, Witherspoon has all but locked up one of the starting boundary corner positions. The veteran CB brings a welcome element of size to an otherwise fairly small group.

Can he stay healthy and hold onto a starting job all season? That would be quite the find for LA based on the point in the offseason they were able to onboard Witherspoon.

Warren McClendon, OT

It’s good to see McClendon make his way off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and start practicing this week. Hopefully he is also healthy enough to participate in the preseason games.

While McClendon is off the PUP—and that’s a good thing—there has been no change in TE Hunter Long’s status.


Derion Kendrick, CB

The second-year corner is dealing with a soft tissue injury and has been out of practice for most of this week, all while the starting outside job opposite Witherspoon is up for grabs.

Robert Rochell hasn’t done much to show he’s ready to start, at least yet. Tre Tomlinson is probably too small to start outside full-time. Kendrick needs to find his way back onto the field soon, or someone else might steal away his starting role.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Noteboom, OT

It’s somewhat odd that LA wouldn’t plug Noteboom in at LG and play Avila at RG, but at some point you might have to stop moving Noteboom between positions. I can respect that decision, but you want to see more from one of the highest paid players on the team.

Sure, Noteboom is working his way back from an Achilles rupture last year and his spot on the roster is almost guaranteed after restructuring his contract this offseason. Not starting is still a disappointment.

All EDGE defenders

Ochaun Mathis has a lower extremity injury and could miss at least the next week of practices.

Byron Young was one of the players included in McVay’s criticism this week, though he seems to be a mainstay on the first string defense. I’m not sure I’ve heard Nick Hampton’s name once yet in camp. Daniel Hardy recovered a fumble one day, and sure, I guess that’s good.

It’s shaping up to be an incredibly important preseason for the edge rushers as they look to separate themselves from the competition.

Rams’ 2022 contract extensions

It’s tough that Cooper Kupp went down with a hamstring injury this week and is expected to miss some time, but is this soft tissue injury after his major ankle injury that ended his season last year a sign that this is his new normal? Is Kupp aging and injury prone?

The Rams signed Kupp, Matthew Stafford, and Aaron Donald to contract extensions after the team’s victory in Super Bowl LVI, but almost immediately after the players put pen to paper those new contracts started to age like milk. LA’s front office and Stafford can’t seem to get on the front page, and the QB has had his share of injuries lately as well.

What were the Rams thinking when they were handing out all this money? These extensions are keeping LA from moving on from aging players as they embrace a youth movement in nearly every other aspect of the roster.

Rams training camp Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images