Can LA Rams OC Liam Coen revitalize WR Tutu Atwell

Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Tutu Atwell
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Task II: What is his niche?

That’s going to take some work, some creativity, and perhaps a whole lot of thinking outside the box. Atwell was involved early in the 2021 NFL season with both punt returns and kick returns. While that could be a role for him to explore in 2022, I’m not seeing much competition right now against Brandon Powell, whose performance in the role last season truly was eye-opening.

So we’re down to two roles remaining for a player blessed with that type of speed. Either he is involved in the passing game as a speedy receiver option, or he is used in a change of pass role as a running back to emulate the hybrid RB/WR roles that both Dave Meggett and Darren Sproles filled so successfully in their NFL careers.

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RB/WR hybrid seems promising

Atwell did try his hand, albeit unsuccessfully, as a rusher in his collegiate days with the Louisville Cardinals offense. He rushed a total of 12 times for 26 yards and one touchdown. While that may not seem like a good place to start, keep in mind that the LA Rams rushing offense is itself under construction this offseason, and placing Atwell behind a blocking back would certainly throw opposing defenses for a loop. Atwell’s speed in the backfield could test the perimeter of all but the fastest edge players.

But a more traditional role and the route the Rams offense will likely take (pun intended) is to place Atwell in a limited four or five receiver sets where his speed in a one-on-one go route will win the matchup against slower defensive backs. If he can harness his speed to show up at his spot at the right time, he could be very effective for the Rams passing attack.