II: TE Hunter Long
While currently on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, the value of a blocking tight end Hunter Long to the Rams offense has to be considered as more valuable in the wake of RB Sony Michel's news of retirement. But let's pause to focus on the injury to Hunter Long. Is it serious? Will it impact his chances to make the Rams roster?
The reason falls into two categories. The first reason is pretty straightforward. The LA Rams' offensive line of scrimmage will need as many big-bodied blockers as possible to ensure an effective running game.
Blocking tight ends are back
Hunter Long is a 6-foot-5 253-pound tight end who arrived at the Rams roster as a result of the trade that sent DB Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins. While he did not see many opportunities to catch footballs on the Dolphins offense, he did make a name for himself by becoming one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL. And that ability to block just became more valuable as the Rams will try to open running lanes for the running backs.
But without Michel's north-south running style, look for the Rams running backs to attack the perimeter of opposing defenses. That will mean that 12-personnel packages with effective blocking tight ends will be a must for the Rams offense. And that means that Hunter Long is likely to see more action, and be counted on, more often this season.