Injured player I: Rams WR status
The LA Rams passing attack will always be considered dangerous under the watch of Rams head coach Sean McVay. Even when the Rams faced starting off the 2023 season without All-Pro WR Cooper Kupp, the Rams offense was able to deliver with the one-two punch of rookie WR Cooper Kupp and veteran WR Tutu Atwell.
While the Rams have not involved Atwell in the offensive game planning as much as his six receptions for 119 yards in Week 1, Atwell has remained a productive and viable option for the Rams offense in 2023. His 12.9 yards per reception understands just how opposing secondaries respect his blazing speed.
In many ways, Atwell's presence in the Rams offense has limited the opponents' ability to stack the box with eight defenders. Unfortunately, Atwell suffered a concussion in Week 14 against the Baltimore Ravens and was forced to sit out Week 15 against the Commanders. The Rams believe that Atwell will be able to play in Week 16.
That is great news, not only for the Rams passing game, but for the Rams rushing attack as well.
Atwell is an underestimated variable in Week 16
The LA Rams have scored 21 times through the air this season. Tutu Atwell has been responsible for three of those touchdowns. But he had those three scored in the Rams first seven games, a period of time in which the Rams only had seven passing touchdowns.
It's not as though Tutu Atwell was not able to score any longer. It's simply that with the return of WR Cooper Kupp, the Rams offense redirected targets to Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and to a lesser degree, WR Demarcus Robinson, and even RB Kyren Williams. But, that could change this week.
So far in the month of December 2023, Atwell has been targeted just three times, and caught one pass for nine yards. That level of production will not attract much attention from the Saints defensive planning. And it's that fact that could make Atwell very dangerous this week.
The Saints secondary allows deep left routes to connect at a 64.29 percent clip on first down. In fact, the Saints have given up significant yardage on deep passes thrown on first down. That is a vulnerability that Tutu Atwell can exploit this week.
At this point, the Rams appear to be on track to be fairly healthy to face the Saints at SoFi Stadium this week for a very important Thursday Night Football. So, how confident do you feel?