Rams Have Kept Offense Simple but Explosive: Analysis

Van Jefferson

Getty Van Jefferson cradles the football in the end zone during the Los Angeles Rams' 28-19 home win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday, October 24.

The Los Angeles Rams have the league’s third-best passing offense and ranks fifth in points per game, proving once again that Sean McVay‘s offense is still carving up defenses.

This means that the Ram offense is throwing unorthodox looks and unpredictable formations, right?

Believe it or not, no. The Rams have kept the offense simple according to one analytical post. Here’s why.

Rams Have Run Just 2 Unique Lineups

Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports took a closer look at how the Rams have operated against defenses during their 6-1 start. What Edholm discovered: The Rams have only utilized two starting lineups that can be categorized as unique.

What this really means is: The Rams have still had a heavy reliance on the same personnel given the bevy of options they have and haven’t busted out many new looks on offense.

Rams Have Fed Same Playmakers

To further scrutinize, L.A. and McVay have kept names like Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee — three guys with the most experience out of the Rams’ weaponry — on more than 400 plays total this season.

Woods has taken the most snaps with 407 according to Pro Football Focus. Kupp is second at 403 and the tight end Higbee follows with 401 offensive plays.

And all three are the leading wideouts in the reception category for the Rams — Kupp at 56, Woods with 35 and Higbee at 27.

If there’s anyone who’s new to the personnel and has received extensive snaps, it’s the trio of wide receiver Van Jefferson and the backfield duo of Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel. Jefferson, the second-year wideout, has seen the field on 328 plays — which is already more than his 2020 total. Henderson is the only other skill position player with more than 300 snaps (305). Michel has seen the field on 117 plays.

But this is an offense that added new playmakers in the offseason with free agent pickup DeSean Jackson and draft picks Tutu Atwell and Jacob Harris. Jackson has seen the field on 100 plays, but has two games where he was limited to 3-4 snaps. He’s also been targeted just 14 times, meaning he averages two passes thrown his way each game.

Meanwhile, the rooks from Louisville and Central Florida haven’t seen a Matthew Stafford football come their way and have a combined 18 offensive snaps.

Rams Still Use Famed Approach

Anyone who follows the Rams knows all about their 11 personnel scheme.

That single tight end, single back look is still creating chunk plays even with a new QB behind center, like these plays that were broken down by The NFL Wire’s Mark Schofield on Monday, October 25 following the 28-19 home win over the Detroit Lions:

Even on motions plays, the Rams still operated from the 11 look.

Same was the case on this Jefferson touchdown where the 6-foot-2 WR elevated himself to the sky while being blanketed.

Against the New York Giants, the Rams were still heavy on the 11 personnel — especially on this goal line touchdown run by Henderson. If anything, every offensive linemen were in a two-point stance…clearly getting the Giants to think pass.

Perhaps one rare wrinkle from the Rams that afternoon was this: Henderson lined up as a wide receiver on this TD pass but still drew a favorable matchup with middle linebacker Tae Crowder.

Although the Rams have lined up “Hendo” at wide receiver before — with Kupp lining up in the backfield to create confusion on the Colts before this TD occurred:

Minus this Jefferson touchdown versus the Arizona Cardinals which was ran out of 12 personnel, plus a two-TE look on the Henderson rush score seen at the 6:39 mark of this highlight video, the Rams have scored all of their touchdowns with their renowned one TE, one RB approach.

McVay and his offense has evolved over the years. They’ve added new scoring and first down threats on offense too. But this offense isn’t doing anything fancy. They’re simply beating teams with the same approach and same lineup.

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