Rain and flood watch add to Rams' tight end concerns for Week 14

Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Rams, Tyler Higbee
Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Rams, Tyler Higbee / Ric Tapia/GettyImages
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Tried and true tight ends

If starting tight end Tyler Higbee is indeed inactive for Week 14, and the signs are pointing in that direction, then the Rams will need to make a choice. Do the Rams favor Higbee's ability to catch the football? Or will the Rams favor Higbee's ability to block? The answer may determine who the Rams use as their primary tight end weapon in Week 14.

Rookie tight end Davis Allen is not a household name for Rams fans just yet. But that is as much a correlation of opportunity as NFL talent so far in his career. The Rams have played Allen on 40 offensive snaps, threw one pass to him which he caught against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12, Because he has been lightly used, and has no NFL experience prior to this season, he is probably an unlikely candidate for the Rams this week. Still, I would not rule him out for a contributing role this week.

The Long story

A player who is rising rapidly on the charts in terms of usage is veteran tight end Hunter Long. Long is primarily a blocking tight end for the Rams, and has seen action in just the past two games. That being said, he has been getting a lot of work in the past two Rams games. While he has yet to be targeted in the passing game, his role will almost certainly change if he is called on to sub in for Higbee in Week 14.

Long has not gotten a lot a lot of work as a receiver. In three seasons, he was targeted just three times, making one catch for eight yards. While that is not much to rely on, the Rams had experience with blocking tight end Johnny Mundt in the past, and would occasionally target Mundt in a game to surprise the opponent. Perhaps the Rams may view Long as an ambush type of receiver this week.

Hopping on the Hopkins bandwagon

The most obvious player to be featured in the Rams vacant tight end role this week is veteran tight end Brycen Hopkins. For whatever reason, the acrobatic catches from Hopkins collegiate playing days never got a chance to earn Hopkins a chance to showcase his skillset in the Rams offense. Now? It may be too little too late for a late season revival to his career.

Hopkins was inactive over the past two games, an ominous foreshadow to his chances of starring for the Rams in Week 14. Still, he has not played poorly. It's just that his role is primarily to backup what Tyler Higbee does on game day. So, if Higbee cannot suit up, then Brycen Hopkins is an ideal player to star in his place.

While Hopkins has only played in 69 offensive snaps, don't let his lack of usage fool you. In 2021, he only had 59 offensive snaps, and was only targeted once (which he caught) for nine yards. But he caught all four passes thrown his way in Super Bowl LVI, three of which moved the chains for critical first downs. Hopkins can flourish under pressure. But will the Rams give him the chance to make a difference?