Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Rams' evolving offense with Brandon Lloyd
By Mike Sando
Brandon Lloyd's arrival in St. Louis has coincided with Steven Jackson's fuller return to health over the past two weeks.
The offense has gone through quite a transition.
With an assist from Hank Gargiulo of ESPN Stats & Information, I've put together a chart showing how playing time has changed for the Rams' skill players over the last two games.
Some of the changes are injury related (Jackson is healthy, Danny Amendola is on injured reserve). Some are roster related (Lloyd added, Mike Sims-Walker subtracted). Some are a little more complicated (Lance Kendricks seeing the field less frequently).
Of course, A.J. Feeley has taken over for the injured Sam Bradford at quarterback. The offensive line has changed since Adam Goldberg replaced an injured Jason Smith at right tackle.
A few quick thoughts:
- Rookie Greg Salas is getting significantly more playing time. The team successfully targeted him on a fourth-and-2 play against New Orleans on Sunday. He appears to be gaining momentum. Fellow rookie wideout Austin Pettis has seen his playing time fall.
- Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui has gained snaps at Kendricks' expense. Kendricks has sometimes struggled with dropped passes, but I haven't figured out for sure why his playing time has diminished. A healthier Hoomanwanui would account for some of the change. The team has run 10 snaps of a grouping with Lloyd, Jackson and all three tight ends.
- Receiver Danario Alexander was inactive with a hamstring injury against New Orleans. Against Dallas, he played 13 snaps with a group featuring Lloyd, Jackson, Billy Bajema and Hoomanawanui. That five-man combination has played more snaps than any other featuring Lloyd. The runnerup, with 11 snaps, features Brandon Gibson, Kendricks and Salas instead of Bajema, Hoomanawanui and Alexander.
- Again, this offense remains in transition. We can safely say Lloyd is the focal point at receiver. Salas and Hoomanawanui have been gaining, while Pettis and Kendricks have fallen back some. But the combinations will continue to evolve, particularly once Bradford returns from his high-ankle sprain. Bradford and Kendricks developed a quick connection at training camp.
The chart shows percentages of all offensive plays, whether or not a player was active, sorted by change from the first six weeks.