Rising stars on offense
Ideally, on the offensive side of the ball, I would expect to see Brycen Hopkins listed. But after the offense lost blocking tight end, Johnny Mundt, for the season, the front office promoted tight end Kendall Blanton from the practice squad.
The Rams did however reset the position designation for wide receiver Jacob Harris, removing the misplaced moniker of tight end from him. What does that do for the young man? Well, as a wide receiver, he will be more involved (hopefully) in the offense, as the Rams will go with three or four wide receivers on a regular basis. The crash course as a tight end undoubtedly fast-tracked his ability to block, which is a must in the offense.
At 6-foot-5, 211-pounds, and a 4.39-second 40-time, Harris is every bit the natural replacement in the playbook for either DeSean Jackson or Tutu Atwell. Can he deliver? It’s time to fish or cut bait for the young man. I think he shows up for 10+ plays and stretches the defense twice in Week 9.
|Buddy Howell 2021 game-by-game snap counts
|Ben Skowronek 2021 game-by-game snap counts
|Jacob Harris 2021 game-by-game snap counts
From the moment that the LA Rams added Buddy Howell, I have been eagerly anticipating his role growing in this offense. He is different, a player who falls outside of the lines from the other players who sit in the team’s running back room. That’s a very good thing. This offense needs a big strong punishing back to slug out the tough yardage. Howell stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 215-pounds, plenty of power and size to dole out the punishment.
Although Howell ran behind a rather disorganized offensive line in mop-up duties in Week 8, he proved that he does indeed have an ability to make positive yards in tough sledding. As a reward, he should be given a handful of carries behind the first-string offensive line today.
Rams roster rookie receiver?
Another out-of-the-box offensive weapon who could see a larger role in Week 9 is rookie wide receiver, Ben Skowronek. He is the first rookie receiver to show up as a target on the offense, catching all three passes for 30 yards. He is a bit different, as he stands an impressive 6-foot-3, weighs 224-pounds, and is a pretty tough son-of-a-gun.
Skowronek can make contested catches, the type of throw-him-a-jump-ball-and-he’ll-come-down-with-it receiver that is always good to have in any must-catch-this scenario in the course of a game.
Playing time on a Sean McVay offense is predicated on a willingness and ability to block, on the versatility to slide into multiple slots, and the effectiveness to make catches of any ball thrown that way. So far, Skowronek has checked all of the boxes. Since the Rams need a WR4 for Week 9, I would be surprised if Skowronek did not see playing time against the Titans.