LA Rams: RB Raymond Calais is more than just a fast ST guy

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

The LA Rams seemed to focus on speed, athleticism, and special teams’ standouts in the 2021 NFL draft, and for the most part, the team certainly seemed to hit the mark over and over. The result of that special team salvo in the draft pulled the focus away from the Rams’ current roster. The overall talent and athleticism of the roster skyrocketed. And the outlook for the Rams special teams is very optimistic this year. But what of returning veterans?

One of the players who suffer from the distraction is running back Raymond Calais, a player who was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but who was poached by the LA Rams to round out their 53-man roster. Of course, at the time, the Rams seemed to be quite saturated at the running back position. There were reasons to add the young Louisville Cardinal to the roster, as Calais offered a unique ability to get from point A to point B more quickly than most NFL Players.

Put another way, the guy is fast.

Wait, what? The LA Rams targetted fast guys in the draft as though the roster had a true need for speed, but didn’t have a shred of the stuff on the roster up to that point.  Of course, the Rams did have speed. It’s just that, when it came to putting Raymond Calais on the field, the Rams seemed to struggle to find productive ways to harness those jets.

What is so odd about it is that he is more than just a fast guy. He is also very dangerous when he gets the ball in his hands. And since he is faster than his teammate, Darrell Henderson, it came as a bit of a mild shock when he was not added to the offense when Henderson went down late in the season with a high-ankle sprain.  After all, Calais can carry the football very effectively.

While that is not quite the blazing 4.27-second 40-yard dash time of rookie WR Tutu Atwell, it’s still phenomenally fast. And while he may be 20-pounds lighter than Henderson, his faster speed seems to beg the question of why the Rams were unable to use him in more than a narrow and limited role as a part-time kick returner?

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Hopefully, a full-agenda training camp with three preseason games will allow the coaching staff to determine more and better uses for all that speed.  After all, if the Rams truly believe that they need a more explosive offense in 2021, they have to figure out why they allowed a stick of offensive TNT to gather moss on their bench in 2020. Will Raymond Calais earn a larger role this year? He certainly can. After all, he is more than just a fast special team guy. Much more, in fact.