LA Rams Coleman Shelton leapfrogs Allen to work OC with 2s

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams are doing what 31 other NFL Teams are engaged in right now. They are trying to find the right fit and combination of players to optimize the play of the offense and defense. That will take time, patience, and a wide range of trial and error auditions for various player combinations. Sometimes the first combination works, sometimes the first combination doesn’t. The funny thing is, sometimes the five best players are not the best combination.

The Rams learned that even though a defensive back succeeds for another team, he may not be a solution for the secondary.  Baltimore Ravens defensive back Marcus Peters may be happy to publicly claim that he feels disrespected by the LA Rams organization, but he played embarrassingly bad defense for the Rams prior to his being traded.

It was the combination of Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill, and Darious Williams that seemed to gel for the Rams in 2020.

So too must the Rams offensive line find that best combination of players. The initial reports out of training camp indicate that the team is looking at an offensive line configuration of left tackle Andrew Whitworth, left guard David Edwards, offensive center Austin Corbett, right guard Bobby Evans, and right tackle Rob Havenstein to start the 2021 NFL season.

Mix and match-up time

That’s just the initial lineup. There is plenty of time, and the coaches finally get to work with players early enough to make observations, tweak the lineups, and then make more observations. Here is a very curious observation as reported by The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue:

So what? Just a bunch of guys getting work with the second string? In a normal season, that skepticism might have elements of truth. But with the LA Rams’ new offensive line coach Kevin Carberry, these are the methods that any new coach assesses his players.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

In fact, all Coach Carberry has to work with are the video footage of past games, interviews with players and other coaches, and a notepad with blank pages. It’s up to the coach to fill it in with notes, recommendations, and results.

If you get it wrong, you get it right next time

Coleman Shelton received a lot of praise from the Rams organization through the off-season, and it appears that he has already leapfrogged former starting center Brian Allen to work with the second string. That’s where he’s starting out. Should anything happen to derail the plans at either right guard or offensive center between now and the start of the season, Shelton could be called into service to hike the football for Matthew Stafford.

Just because I think he is full of NFL-caliber play is not enough to drop everything and look for him to earn a starting role, and I get that. But since arriving at the LA Rams mid-season in 2019, this is his first chance to audition for the team. In 2020, training camp was a crash course that only allowed the team to get the five presumed offensive line starters ready for the season.

This year could very likely be the last chance for Coleman Shelton to ignite his NFL career. You see, if he doesn’t earn a significant role with the LA Rams now, what chance will the young man who has played just 23 offensive snaps have in attracting interest from another NFL team? This is a make-or-break season for the young offensive lineman.

Will he land a starting role? Perhaps not. Could he land a starting role? Perhaps yes. Training camp has just started and he’s already leapfrogged a starter on the depth chart. If the Rams are unhappy with the Bobby Evans at right guard experiment, they could restore Austin Corbett to guard and promote Coleman Shelton to a starting center role.

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Keep an eye on Coleman Shelton, folks. He may not be a starter yet, but he finally has a chance to earn that spot.