Tough guy III: Two tight end time
When you check out the details of tight end Kendall Blanton, it’s easy to confuse him with an offensive tackle. After all, he stands a towering 6-foot-6 and weighs a robust 260-pounds. Unfortunately, he is not getting any offensive snaps to speak of.
Before his injury, Johnny Mundt was getting approximately 35 percent of the offensive snaps. Many of which were used in 12-personnel packages. In stark contrast, his replacement Kendall Blanton has gotten just two snaps per game.
Even more disturbing, that has occurred despite the fact that the LA Rams receiver position had to endure significant upheaval since the NFL Trade Deadline. The team waived WR DeSean Jackson and lost both wide receiver Jacob Harris and Tutu Atweel for the season due to injuries.
A logical response to such a devastating impact on the offense might have been to go with more of the two tight-end formations and feature a running plus short passing attack until the new receivers and the quarterback had developed sufficient rapport with one another. Instead, the Rams opted for an alternative strategy, one where the offense passed the football 80 percent of the time.
The Rams are innovative at times. But the team falls into a very predictable pattern that defensive coordinators are discovering and exploiting at a faster and faster pace. Conversely, the Rams coaching staff has proven to be slower and slower at recognizing this, and even more reluctant to make the necessary adjustments on offense to counter the defense.
If Kendall Blanton is not the right guy, then promoting him to the team’s 53-man roster was a huge error. If Blanton is not the guy, the offensive line has some options to deploy in the form of a tight end. Or the team could give Brycen Hopkins a shot as well. The fact is that the offensive line has tripled the number of quarterback sacks allowed in the past two games.
At this rate, unless something gets fixed quickly, the Rams needn’t worry about getting to the playoffs. QB Matthew Stafford will be too banged up to play well by the time the playoffs arrive.