The Los Angeles Rams must take significant strides throughout the preseason to determine where they stand and how they can bounce back from a 5-12 record in 2022.
They traded Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey and re-signed offensive lineman Coleman Shelton and defensive lineman Marquise Copeland during the 2023 offseason. They brought in a few key rookies through the 2023 NFL Draft, including edge rusher Byron Young, offensive lineman Steve Avila and defensive lineman Kobie Turner.
A 34-17 preseason loss to the Los Angeles Chargers allowed a few other players to shine before the 2023 NFL season.
Rams quarterback Stetson Bennett finished the outing with 191 passing yards and one passing touchdown. Receiver Tyler Johnson led the Rams with 70 receiving yards on five receptions. He highlighted his night with a 34-yard reception as Bennett completed a short pass to the fourth-year receiver in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Keir Thomas, who signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2022, ended the matchup at SoFi Stadium with five tackles, 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss.
Who are some first-string players for the Rams who could lose their starting jobs before the start of the 2023 NFL Season?
Rozeboom, a former undrafted free agent from South Dakota State, has played in 26 games for the Rams over his two-year NFL career. The former Super Bowl Champion played in 17 games for LA last season, earning eight combined tackles. He finished the Rams' first preseason game against the Chargers with four tackles, two solo.
Rozeboom played a more prominent role on special teams during the 2022 regular season. He played in 90 snaps on kick returns, 78 on kick coverage, 78 on punt coverage, 60 on punt returns and 68 on kick or extra point blocks, according to Pro Football Focus.
Los Angeles will have its fair share of linebacker options for heading into the 2023 season.
Rozeboom took a starting spot on the unofficial depth chart the Rams released last week. Linebackers Jacob Hummel and Kelechi Anyalebechi took the spots behind him. Linebacker Ernest Jones, a former third-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, took a starting spot as an inside linebacker next to Roseboom. Linebackers Byron Young and Michael Hoecht filled out the outside roles.
If Rozeboom can prove he can be a reliable starter alongside Jones, the Rams could take one step closer to solidifying a defense that allowed 3,842 passing yards in 2022. The figure put them at 22nd in the league, according to NFL.com.
Noteboom, a former third-round selection out of TCU, has played in 53 games and started in 23 since the Rams first selected him with the 89th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Rams re-signed him to a three-year, $40 million contract in 2022. Noteboom suffered a torn Achilles in October after starting in six games for the Rams during the 2022 season.
Offensive tackle Alaric Jackson will have the opportunity to compete for the starting left tackle spot in 2023.
“It's amazing, because how these things go, you're usually kind of set where you're at contract-wise in a sense, but they made it clear that open and up for grabs,” Jackson said, via TheRams.com Senior Staff Writer Stu Jackson. “I'm loving the chances for me and Joe to compete at the LT1 spot. And that's also my guy, so I want him to do well as well.”
Notebook could play at either the tackle or the guard spot, as Rams head coach Sean McVay pointed out on Saturday.
“(Noteboom) could start at tackle or guard for us, and he's done that for us in years past,” McVay said. “We would like to be able to figure that out, but we also want to continue to make sure that we're doing a thorough job of the evaluation process.”
Will Noteboom stay ahead of Jackson at the left tackle by the time the 2023 season rolls around?