Injury outbreak may hold silver lining for LA Rams offensive line

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

Silver lining playbook

Now, my intention is not to create some starting offensive center controversy. I just want the LA Rams to have the best possible players on the football field, and I for one have had the good fortune of following the career of Coleman Shelton since his college playing days with the University of Washington.

He is a smaller offensive lineman at 6-foot-4 and 299-pounds, but much like Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, he more than makes up for it with heads-up plays, incredible athleticism, and a willingness to engage and block defenders anywhere on the football field until the play is ruled dead.

Like what kind of heads-up play?  It’s easy to miss good offensive plays when some offensive linemen are struggling. But Coleman Shelton actually put on a pretty good display last night. On one play, he picked up a defender, allowing quarterback Matthew Stafford to make a long completion to Cooper Kupp.

But there’s more. Shelton was a crucial contributor in several ways, including moving a pile forward to allow Kupp to make a first down after he was stopped far short of the first down marker.

You have to jot these things down sometimes because it truly is that out-of-the-box type of playmaking that turns bad plays into good ones, and extends offensive drives.  Picking up free defenders? Moving the pile forward? Those types of plays are easy to overlook in the heat of the battle.  Per PFF, he did not surrender a sack and had no penalties.

But how did PFF score the Rams’ first game?

Joe Noteboom – 0 penalties, 3 sacks allowed
David Edwards – 1 penalty, 2 sacks allowed
Brian Allen – 0 penalties, 1 sack allowed
Coleman Shelton – 0 penalties, 0 sacks allowed
Rob Havenstein – 0 penalties, 1 sack allowed

There were no winners from the LA Rams offensive line last night, but Coleman Shelton played the very best game of the bunch. With him moving to the center position, the LA Rams will promote Tremayne Anchrum to the right guard position. He is another offensive lineman that we are quite high on. With this change, the Rams may be correcting some offensive line struggles, and doing so organically. With Shelton at C and Ancrum at RG, the offensive line shouldn’t lose much, if anything.