No blocking tight end
For the first time in quite some time, the LA Rams have not only gone with just two tight ends in their initial 53-man roster, but they have all but abandoned the blocking tight-end specialty that former Rams tight end Johnny Mundt made famous.
While that blocking tight end role is often a thankless job that seldom appears in the post-game box score the Rams had come to depend heavily upon that type of player in 12-personnel packages to not only boost the production of the rushing attack but deceptively fool defensive secondaries into overlooking the second tight end. The Rams targeted Mundt three times in 2020, resulting in 48 yards and allowing the offense to gain 160 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
Noone to turn to
Well, there is no blocking tight end on the roster this season. The Rams opted to go with Tyler Higbee and Brycen Hopkins. Well, what of tight-end Brycen Hopkins? Well, he was another ‘no show’ in the efforts to block, as he failed to make a key block against Buffalo Bills linebacker Micah Hyde.
The LA Rams’ offense, despite the rhetoric of fit and planning, continues to rely heavily upon blocking from players who are not offensive linemen to support running plays, and the failure of blocks by wide receivers and tight ends results in running plays ending with no gains. That happened far too often in Week 1.
Can the LA Rams fix this? Of course. It may not be as easy as all of that, because this roster simply does not have the confidence once enjoyed in TE Johnny Mundt, nor does the team have a big burly tight end name Kendall Blanton to elevate from the practice squad.
But it starts with more than the offensive line. The LA Rams depend on blocking from every player who is neither throwing nor carrying the football. In Week 1, many players were simply not up to the task of blocking to the standards expected by the Rams coaching staff.
If the Rams are going to turn this thing around, that has to be corrected. Immediately.