The LA Rams may need to increase role for RB Raymond Calais
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams signed running back/ return specialist Raymond Calais off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers waiver wire in 2020 and streamlined his role to fit the lack of any time he had to practice with the team last year. He was assigned to Special Teams, where he was given an opportunity to return seven kickoffs for 152 yards in four games.
No more, and no less.
That seems like a very modest return to a player who the Rams targetted and signed to the 53-man roster. Four games, seven kickoff returns. Hrmph. Surely the LA Rams had that much production on the roster already? Well, yes and no.
Raymond Calais is a 5-foot-8 188-pound running back originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 245th pick. Why did the Buccaneers draft him? Well, this instant analysis by ESPN’s Mel Kiper after the pick gives some reasons for the selection: 7.6 yards-per-carry, kick return specialist, three runs of at least 80 yards in his collegiate career.
The Rams are committed to adding more explosiveness to the offense, and who better than this nitro-glycerin-powered rusher to do exactly that? He put up a 4.42-second 40-yard dash time, and bench pressed 225-pounds 20 times. He’s fast, and he’s powerful. But he was not part of the Rams offense in 2020, why would they put out the welcome mat for him this year?
Well, the answer to that lies in the fact that the Rams had to undertake a crash course to get the team up and running amidst the chaos of the 2020 NFL season. There was no time to spare to including fringe players. Rather, the time was invested almost entirely upon preparing the known key players for the season.
Calais’s role for the season was contributing to special teams when possible. The Rams simply did not have sufficient time to work him into the offense, nor to coach up his receiving and blocking skills, both of which are necessary to get meaningful playing time in head coach Sean McVay’s offensive scheme.
That will not be the case this season. Even if he does so on his own, Calais has full access to the LA Rams coaches the entire off-season, and can customize his off-season training to meet the Rams needs for the 2021 NFL season. And you cannot ignore the simple fact that he is one of the fastest players on the Rams roster.
The Rams clearly want to become a more explosive and quick-strike offense. To do that, they will need to integrate speed onto the offense. That means that the Rams may need to increase the role for running back, Raymond Calais, since so few players on the roster can move the back as quickly down the field.