The Los Angeles Rams set out to add some depth on offense this offseason, seemingly in an attempt to become more multiple and allow Sean McVay to mix things up personnel-wise on that side of the ball. There were visions of Tutu Atwell and DeSean Jackson split out wide, with Cooper Kupp in the slot and Cam Akers in the backfield. Or Kupp, Jackson, Tyler Higbee, Jacob Harris and Darrell Henderson Jr. lining up together, creating mismatches at all levels of the field.
Those visions obviously haven’t come to light in the first seven weeks of the season. In fact, the Rams are using fewer unique personnel groupings than any other team in the NFL – and it’s not even close.
Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports discovered that the Rams have only used two unique starting lineups and 38 unique personnel groupings on offense. The next-closest team is the Vikings, who have had 81 unique groupings.
This isn’t necessarily new for McVay because if you’ll remember, he relied heavily on 11 personnel in his first two seasons. He liked to keep Woods, Kupp and Sammy Watkins (in 2017) or Brandin Cooks (in 2018) on the field together, which limited the number of different looks the Rams gave on offense.
He’s evolved over the last three seasons, but he still doesn’t like to change things up much with which players get on the field. Atwell has played 10 snaps, Harris has played six, Jackson has only played 100 (22.6%) and Sony Michel has played 117 (26.5%).
Their starters on offense have all played at least 69% of the offensive snaps, with Michel playing the most of any backup. There’s no indication that will change anytime soon, either. Atwell hasn’t made enough progress to warrant snaps on offense, Harris is still raw and Henderson remains the clear-cut RB1.
For a team that seemed poised to offer a variety of looks on offense, that plan simply hasn’t come to fruition yet.
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