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Who Starts In An Exciting 2023 Rams Offense?

I will base my starting lineup predictions on a 1 RB/3 WR/1 TE offensive set since that is the most common formation in Sean McVay's offense.



Quarterback

I mean, this is an easy one... Matthew Stafford. I barely had to use any brain cells to come up with it. Stetson Bennett, Brett Rypien, and Dresser Winn will not challenge Stafford for any starting reps and will probably never see the field unless he gets injured.


Running Back

This would have been a more obvious choice a couple of weeks ago, but the addition of Sony Michel has muddied the water some. The Rams would not have added Michel unless they had concerns about the depth or their starter. I think that Michel was added to improve the depth of the position.


Before the addition of Michel, the Rams' backup RBs were Kyren Williams (a 2nd-year player with 35 NFL carries), Ronnie Rivers (a 2nd-year player with 9 NFL carries), and Zach Evans (a rookie). Three players combining for 44 carries doesn't instill much confidence. If Akers were to go down with an injury, as he did two years ago, the backfield would be woefully under-prepared if it were not for Michel. This is Akers starting position to lose, but if he does anything that causes McVay to lose faith in him, we could see a lot of Michel this season.


Wide Receivers

Let's not waste any time on WR1, which will be Cooper Kupp. WR2 gets a bit trickier to predict due to the addition of Demarcus Robinson. While I think that Robinson will challenge Van Jefferson for WR2, I believe that Jefferson will win out in the end, with Robinson taking the WR3 slot over Ben Skowronek. I know there has been a lot of talk about Tutu Atwell and how much he has improved, but because of his size, I can't see him as more than just a utility player occasionally rather than a full-time starter.


Tight End

Another easy one, Tyler Higbee, is the starting Tight End. This position has a steep drop-off in the depth chart after the starter, but I am interested to see if Brycen Hopkins continues to improve.


Left Tackle

Since Andrew Whitworth's retirement after Super Bowl LVI, this has been a dangerous weak spot. The blind side blocker is essential to protecting the quarterback, but the position gave up ten sacks last season, with 2022 starter Joe Noteboom allowing five before he was injured. According to an article by Bret Stuter from Ramblin' Fan, Noteboom's ratio of sacks allowed to snaps played (SA/SP) was 1.54%, the second-worst on the team.


The stats are not in Noteboom's favor, so I do not think he will return as the starter. As mentioned in a previous article, I believe Alaric Jackson will step in and start at LT for the Rams this Fall.


Left Guard

David Edwards missed time last season while recovering from a concussion, but he struggled when he was on the field. Referencing Stuter's article again, the data shows that Edwards had the team's third-worst SA/SP ratio with 1.30%. Edwards is gone now, as is Bobby Evans, the primary substitute in his absence.


Rookie Steve Avila has been taking first-team snaps at LG in OTAs and has impressed the coaching staff. In a recent article from the Rams website, Sean McVay says, "I've been really pleased with Steve Avila. He's obviously incredibly talented and gifted but been able to move him from left to right. I think he's picking things up quickly." It looks like Avila will win the LG starting position this year.


Center

Brian Allen has been the Rams starting Center since 2019 (except in 2020 when he was rehabbing from a knee injury and sick with Covid-19). According to PFF, he has been anything but consistent during his NFL career, though, posting grades of 80.3, 58.6, 80.2, and 63.8 in his four active seasons.


That is why the tweet to the left caught my attention. Coleman Shelton has gotten more first-team reps at Center than Allen has at OTAs.


Not every lineup in OTAs turns into the starting lineup once September rolls around, but this looks like a move that is going to stick for the Rams, especially when you factor in that the Rams restructured Allen's contract to save cap space but resigned Shelton to a new deal this offseason. Therefore, I think Shelton is going to be the starting Center.


Right Guard

This position was Coleman Shelton's at the start of last season, but as mentioned in the previous paragraph, he will take over starting Center duties from Brian Allen. With Steve Avila already filling the role at LG, unless McVay decides to shift Noteboom or Jackson to the interior, it looks like this position is going to Logan Bruss.


Right Tackle

Rob Havenstein is the best offensive lineman that the Rams have right now. He has been playing for the Rams since 2015 and, according to Pro Football Focus, has only allowed 38 sacks in 7440 snaps. He has been the most consistent lineman for the Rams and will retain the starting RT position.

Can The Rams Get Back To SB Form?

  • Yes

  • No



 

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