Is LA Rams WR/FB Ben Skowronek I-rish pkg key to Week 4 win?

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

When the LA Rams lost their backup tight end, Johnny Mundt, to a season-ending injury in 2021, the LA Rams offense never seemed to find a suitable replacement. That was a frustrating development throughout the 2021 NFL season because the Rams running attack suffered through nearly two-thirds of the season.

It was not until the LA Rams started Coleman Shelton as the offensive center, and rushed RB Sony Michel almost exclusively, that the team began to get huge performances by running the football. It was not a moment too soon, as LA Rams starting quarterback Matthew Stafford was struggling mightily to connect to the Rams’ reconfigured receiving corps. While the team still had WR Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson running routes, injuries forced the Rams to start rookie WR Ben Skowronek, and the team also started free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr.

The burst of rushing excellence did the trick. The Rams won games in spite of the generous turnovers and allowed the passing game to stabilize just in time to put up quite a show in the NFL playoffs.

I-Rish formation

This season, the Rams’ passing attack is finding it difficult to avoid turnovers once more. This time, rather than try to replicate a tight end to fill in the role of Johnny Mundt, the LA Rams are shocking defenses by lining up FB/WR Ben Skowronek in the backfield and using his physicality to help in blocking at the point of attack for the running game, as well as going out for passes.

LA Rams head coach Sean McVay discusses the Rams’ offensive innovation and calls it the I-rish formation. Ben Skowronek played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the offensive formation he is lining up in is the I formation. McVay discusses the new use of Ben Skowronek on the Coach McVay Show shown in the video below:

Now, here’s where it gets fun. If the Rams stick to the I-Rish formation, even for a play or two, that will force the 49ers’ defense to show their hand. and that gives Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford another weapon in his arsenal. If the 49ers try to defend the formation with defensive backs, the Rams can simply go with any number of running plays out of that formation.

But if the 49ers try to defend with linebackers, then the Rams can simply pass out of the formation.

While Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is not at his peak performance right now, giving him solid options to use against the 49ers’ defense is a great step in the right direction. Not only does it give the Rams a more productive ground game. But, in turn, amplifies the Rams ability to pass the football as well.

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