What can we conclude from Rams shocking trade of 2023 captain Ben Skowronek?

Los Angeles Rams Offseason, Les Snead
Los Angeles Rams Offseason, Les Snead / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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I: Look for Rams to revert to 12-personnel sub package

Despite the likelihood of TE Tyler Higbee starting the 2024 NFL season on the IR/PUP roster and the uncertainty of TE Hunter Long's fate, the Rams' tight end room is bursting with players right now. What do I mean? The Rams currently boast seven tight ends on the roster right now. Who are they?

  1. TE Tyler Higbee | 6-foot-6 | 255 pounds (IR/PUP)
  2. TE Hunter Long | 6-foot-5 | 253 pounds (IR)
  3. TE Colby Parkinson | 6-foot-7 | 251 pounds
  4. TE Davis Allen | 6-foot-6 | 245 pounds
  5. TE Nikola Kalinic | 6-foot-4 | 245 pounds (Reserve/Future)
  6. TE Miller Forristall | 6-foot-5 | 244 pounds (Reserve/Future)
  7. TE Neal Johnson | 6-foot-4 | 260 pounds (UDFA)

Of the group listed above, the top four players (if healthy) almost certainly make the Rams 53-man roster. But if the team sticks to the base 11-personnel offense, it seems a bit like overkill to dedicate four roster positions to a role that will almost always put one player on the football field at a time.

Unless that is no longer the plan.

The Rams had used 12 personnel packages (two tight ends) more frequently in the past. When the team boasted TEs Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, and Johnny Mundt, the offense was not adverse to playing two tight ends on offense. That not only helped to protect young quarterback Jared Goff, but amplified the team's ability to run with the football. And the presence of WRs Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods ensured that even with two wide receivers running routes, the Rams offense would still consistently manage to find an open receiver.

Fast forward to 2024, and the team appears to be positioned to lean more heavily into 12-personnel packages once more. Even with Tyler Higbee's inability to start the season, the Rams have Hunter Long (maybe?), Colby Parkinson, and Davis Allen, all of whom have gotten positive reports from the team's coaching staff.

When Higbee returns, the coaching staff cannot simply mothball the other three players.

The team cannot overwork WR Cooper Kupp any more than they can run an empty backfield and run five eligibles in routes for QB Matthew Stafford. With age comes the need to manage the workload. The offense boasts Kupp, Puka Nacua, and Demarcus Robinson as the three primary wide receivers. Others may step up over the course of the season, but the team will need to keep a close eye on how much work the team gives to this trio.

The front office is already aiming to share the workload at the running back position. Expect the team to preserve the health of wide receivers as well.