Making LA Rams offensive line a strength in 2023 in 3-2-1 steps
By Bret Stuter
Step III Take an honest inventory
The most critical step for the LA Rams this offseason is to be brutally honest about the quality of their rostered offensive linemen. That is, not to base the assessment on the affordability or the salary cap situation initially. Why is that so critical? Settling for an affordable player, as we have witnessed this season, can cause the team to accept an unacceptably high risk for durability concerns.
That tolerance for less durable players to assume starting roles in 2022 was further complicated by the decision to go with only eight offensive linemen in the team’s initial 53-man roster. That was a pretty significant blunder, as we know that the team had burned through all their reserves and were signing new NFL free agents within the first month of the start of this season
Step III Part I: Take an honest inventory of players who return to this Rams roster
The LA Rams will welcome back the following players in 2023 on their offensive line
OT Rob Havenstein
IOL Coleman Shelton
IOL Brian Allen
OT Alaric Jackson
IOL Logan Bruss
IOL Tremayne Anchrum
OT Joe Noteboom
Of this group, the only offensive tackle who is a blue-chip durable offensive lineman is veteran Rob Havenstein. The remaining offensive linemen are injury risks. Each player named on this list has battled injuries in 2022, and in the cases of some players, significant injuries throughout their careers.
Avoid too much Rams roster risk
In essence, the Rams can assume some risk. But it is extremely unwise for this team to enter the 2023 season assuming that four other players, who battled significant injuries this season, will all be 100 percent healthy next year. So what is the remedy? In short, the Rams should give significant thought to trading away at least two of the players from this list. Bad play? No. Simply stated, the Rams cannot back up a starting center Brian Allen with a right guard Coleman Shelton when both have battled injuries this season. We’ve seen how quickly those plans fall apart.
From this group, The Rams would be wise to keep RT Rob Havenstein, OC/OG Coleman Shelton, IOL Logan Bruss, OT Alaric Jackson, and IOL Tremayne Anchrum. Havenstein because of his leadership. Shelton and Jackson because they are the most versatile. Bruss because he was injured his entire rookie season and has little trade value. So too for Tremayne Anchrum, a veteran with almost no trade value.
I don’t think that the Rams can afford to count on either Brian Allen or Joe Noteboom to start next season. If either or both are okay competing for a role and starting 2023 as backups, great. Otherwise, I believe the Rams may be forced to part ways with both.