When it comes to the LA Rams offensive formations, it was clear that the Rams intended to make use of more tight ends. After all, the Rams have four tight ends on the active 53-man Rams roster, and two more on the practice squad. But plans derail sometimes, and the potency of running an offense with two tight ends somehow got lost in the shuffle.
But I believe that it may be making a comeback.
The Rams have played in nine regular season games so far this season. Of those games, the Rams have lined up in two tight end formations, of a 12-personnel package, just 48 times. But how have those two tight end formations been distributed? That's what I wanted to find out.
Let's start by comparing the number of 12 personnel packages deployed by the LA Rams this season, and when the Rams seemed to distribute two tight ends. We have a quick distribution table shown below, as per NFLsavant.com:
# plays with 2 TEs used
# TE passes / Yds
4/5 51 yds
3/7 12 yds
5/5 71 yds
6/12 69 yds
2/3 20 yds
2/3 18 yds
1/3 7 yds
6/7 45 yds
@ Packers ( QB Rypien)
0/1 0 yds
What we find is that when the Rams completely abandon two tight-end formations, the team has a record of 0-3. The Rams did not run any two tight end sets against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Philadelphia Eagles, or the Dallas Cowboys. Not only that, but the Rams averaged just 16.7 points per game without two tight ends.
For this analysis, I'm tossing the Week 9 loss, as the Rams got nothing out of backup quarterback Brett Rypien in his lone start.
What a difference two tight ends make in this Rams offense
But when the Rams used two tight ends at least three times in a game with starting quarterback Matthew Stafford in the pocket, some good things began to happen. Not only did the Rams' chance of success improve, as the Rams improved to 3-2, but the Rams' offense averaged 25 points per game as well. That is nearly a full touchdown better per game than the Rams average per game, and a full 8.3 points per game better than whenever the Rams do not use two tight ends in a game. The Rams' offense, therefore, should plan to use more two tight-end formations.
It just so happens that the LA Rams are welcoming Hunter Long to the Rams roster this week. When discovering that development, we argued that Long could supply the Rams offense with a desperately needed spark. Now we see solid evidence of that assertion.
Will Hunter Long guarantee a Rams win? Well, he won't even alter the Rams chances if he never sees the football field. But the Rams offense gets a huge upgrade whenever the Rams dare to deploy 12 personnel formations over the course of a game.
If Stafford is under center and the Rams use two tight ends four or more times in a game, the Rams are 2-1 and average 25.3 points per game. I'm no NFL offensive savant, but if it was up to me, I would ensure that two tight ends were part of the Rams game planning for Week 11.