The Los Angeles Rams will wrap up the training camp portion of the offseason on Tuesday. Tuesday marks the final training camp practice before the team begins the preseason on Saturday against the Los Angeles Chargers. While it’s important not to overreact to the preseason as the games don’t mean a lot, there will be plenty to watch. The Rams play the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 and will have a lot of work to do before then. Here are five things we need to see from the Rams during the 2023 preseason.
1. Young Edge Rushers Finding Success
The Rams are very young and inexperienced at the edge rusher position. Training camp can be very difficult for edge rushers as some of it is without pads and you can’t sack the quarterback. Still, we haven’t heard a lot from this group.
Saturday’s game against the Chargers will be the first time that we see Byron Young and Nick Hampton in action. Daniel Hardy and Keir Thomas will certainly be apart of the rotation as well. Specifically with Young and Hampton, the Rams need to see these two guy being able to generate pressure. Against backup offensive linemen, that’s something that they should be able to do. It will be important to see them get grow after every preseason game during these live snaps.
2. Stetson Bennett Looking Comfortable
The preseason can be difficult for backup quarterbacks as the backup offensive line is responsible for protection and the pass catchers are typically guys that may not even make the roster. Because of that, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bennett go through his share of struggles.
With that said, it is going to be important for Bennett to start to get more comfortable in the offense as the preseason goes on. The Rams may not end up keeping three quarterbacks. If Bennett is going to be the team’s backup, he’ll need to show that he can run and have command in the offense.
3. The offensive line beginning to gel
It’s not likely that Rob Havenstein plays, but with a different approach to the preseason, we will likely see every other starting offensive lineman in some capacity. If that’s the case, it will be important to see this group begin to become a cohesive unit.
It’s important not to judge the offensive line too harshly in the preseason, especially the second or third units. At the end of the day, these shouldn’t be the players that they are playing next to if they are asked to enter the game. However, if we do see players like Alaric Jackson at left tackle, Steve Avila at left guard, Coleman Shelton at center, and Tremayne Anchrum at right guard, fans and coaches should be watching intently. This group will need to see pickup some confidence heading into the regular season.
4. Tight End Behind Higbee Stepping Up
We may not see a lot of Davis Allen, if at all as he deals with a hamstring injury. However, that leaves more opportunity for players like Byrcen Hopkins and Hunter Long. Hopkins has seemingly had a good camp while Long has remained pretty quiet. If the Rams are going to run more 12 personnel this season, they need a tight end behind Higbee to step up and show that they can be a threat as a receiver, but also be able to block.
Hopkins seems to be the favorite right now, but the Rams did acquire Hunter Long in the Jalen Ramsey trade. We’ll see how much Hopkins and Long play and who makes an impact in these games.
5. No injuries
Injuries are part of the game and will likely happen. However, if the Rams can avoid serious injuries and head into regular season healthy, that would obviously be the best case scenario. This is especially true if the Rams do end up playing some of their starters in the preseason. This isn’t a deep roster and therefore it will be important for the starters to enter the season healthy.
Last season, the Rams were immediately hit with the injury bug when Logan Bruss tore his ACL and MCL. They can’t suffer an injury to that extent again heading into 2023.