Another Rams’ diamond in the rough?
Howell may be a bit more valuable than meets the eye. Let’s talk about his potential with the Rams. For starters? He’s huge. 6-foot-1 and 225-pounds is not a microburst rusher. He’s a big-bodied back who could prove to be an advantage to the Rams running game if he is deployed to handle a few offensive snaps. If not, he is simply a temporary reinforcement for the Rams special teams unit this week.
But I think he has more in store than that with the LA Rams. For one thing, he is an excellent gunner on a coverage unit, amassing 16 tackles in three seasons on special teams. That is likely one of the reasons that the Rams were eager to sign him.
So far, the LA Rams have committed their running game to rushers who stand under 6-foot-0 and weigh over 200 pounds. Howell is the first running back to break that template. Why him? Well, he has been compared to running back Wayne Gallman, a player we were eager to see signed by the LA Rams when he was waived.
Gallman has since been signed by the Atlanta Falcons but has yet to play any offensive snaps for them. Gallman also has a solid reputation for playing on special teams early in his career. Right now, that appears to be the direction that Howell is taking with his NFL role so far.
Perhaps a better comparison for Howell is to fill the void left by outbound free agent Malcolm Brown. It was Brown who carried the football when the Rams faced a physical defense. It was Brown who often got some early carries to soften up the defense, and then yielded to one of his smaller speedier teammates once the game was underway?
Of course, everything and anything is speculation about the Rams’ intentions for using Howell here. But the Rams organization is a stickler for having a specific plan on how to use every player. Howell will get looks on coverage, that’s almost certain. But with the Rams going through running backs like a hot knife slices through butter, it simply makes perfect sense to sign up a bigger body to play at the position.
Will Buddy Howell carry the ball much in Week 3? That’s unlikely. But the LA Rams clearly need more continuity at the running back position right now. If Buddy Howell shows any kind of promise now, he could be in line for a bigger role in the weeks to come.