Something doesn’t feel right about the LA Rams roster as it has been constructed initially. Despite past tendencies to carry three or even four tight ends on the roster, the initial LA Rams roster holds only two. While you could convince me that the team needed roster spots to carry extra wide receiver talent, that argument loses its validity when you look at 2021.
Last year, the LA Rams’ tight end position was decimated by injuries. Who was injured? Tyler Higbee, Jacob Harris, Johnny Mundt, and eventually Kendall Blanton. How did dubious tight end Brycen Hopkins get his opportunity in Super Bowl LVI? Simple.
He was the last healthy player available at the tight end position. Four out of five players were injured along the way. That is not hyperbole or opinion, it’s simply the way the 2021 season played out.
Rams roster: Farewell five
Now, the LA Rams have felt confident enough in the depth at the tight end position to part ways with five players? The only logical answer to do so is concluding that the Rams playbook has all but abandoned 12-personnel packages, or that the Rams have plans to reinforce the tight end position that is not yet executed:
So why won’t the Rams simply sign a tight end to the practice squad and be content? Even though the NFL/NFLPA have agreed to relax the rules and afford teams three opportunities to elevate practice squad players for the upcoming game day over the course of a 17-game season, that doesn’t help the Rams if a player is injured.
Something isn’t adding up
If the Rams carry Roger Carter, for example, and elevate him twice to include him on special teams, how does that help the team if a player is shaken up during a game? As we had discussed earlier, the Rams lost four tight ends to injury in 2021, twice the number of 2022 rostered tight ends.
Yes, the Rams discovered out of necessity that some wide receivers can perform tight-end-like duties in a pinch. But it’s a far cry from spot use versus a playbook that will rely on that regularly.
Will the Rams be claiming a veteran tight end? They may try, but with a priority of 32 out of 32 teams, the likelihood of claiming the player that they want is remote.
That is very unfortunate, as the Buffalo Bills’ release of veteran tight end OJ Howard is awfully tempting, isn’t it?
LA Rams GM Les Snead will work his roster magic once more, I’m certain of it. Two tight ends may suit some, but in the face of the Rams’ experiences and use of tight ends in the past, that feels unbearably light.
Couple that with an offensive line that is carrying just eight players, and the blocking and durability of protecting Matthew Stafford, opening running lanes, and withstanding the wear and tear of the long 17-game season, it all feels foolishly optimistic.
Yes, I could be wrong. I want to be so very wrong on this matter. But if my concerns are founded, the team has made a potentially fatal mistake, simply by being overly confident.