While all the veteran players have an inside track, the “competition” is only beginning. How the Rams decide the ranking in a virtual training environment is anyone’s guess. I speculate that the Rams will go with familiarity until the fresh faces have a chance to demonstrate their skills on the practice field. Even with returning players, the Rams are not awash with experience.
So how can the Rams decide who to go with?
Leave it to Barry
The LA Rams have excellent positional coaches. and one of the best is linebackers coach Joe Barry. How good is he? He coached up undrafted linebacker Cory Littleton into one of the highest-paid players at his position. Right now, he is working similar magic on 2019 undrafted free agent linebacker Troy Reeder. In 2020, he has four new rookies to work with and develop. While 2020 may not produce instant results, he will certainly have enough time over the course of the season to ensure that the Rams linebackers are ready to play when their number is called.
How much is riding on the starting linebacker roles? Perhaps not as much as you think. The defense under Brandon Staley will feature quite a few new wrinkles, which means fewer plays in a base 3-4. The Rams could field a 3-3-5 defense, or a 2-5-4 defense, or even a 4-2-5 arrangement. So the number of snaps for the ILB roles may very likely depend on the player who earns the starting role.