St. Louis Rams TE Lance Kendricks, the "joker"

In the fanposts RadicalRamsFan posted a link to some comments from former St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Rick Venturi about the Rams pick of Lance Kendricks in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. 3k is working on a monumental Playbook Projector piece on the two tight end offense and Kendricks, so consider this a little teaser. 

Here's Venturi on the possibilities for the Rams with Kendricks in the offense:

He will be a mismatch problem for safeties and linebackers, and in that context, can be a real weapon. At worst he reminds me of Dustin Keller of the Jets, and if you hit a home run, he is Antonio Gates...

If the running game is a threat, if you have a blocking tight end with him, and your wide receiver corps demands coverage, the joker mismatches become deadly.

A couple things standout here. First, the running game. Steven Jackson makes the running game a threat. If defenses again choose to load the box, Kendricks can just get behind the mass of defenders and go against a safety. However, Steven Jackson has to be both healthy and effective. If the Rams lose Jackson, even for a game or two, the whole offense could find itself in a real pinch without another running back to make the run game something defenses have to account for. 

Second, is the question of the receivers demanding coverage. Last year's group of receivers, demanded but faint attention. Ideally, a healthy Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton will command some attention. Austin Pettis and/or Greg Salas won't get much coverage early on, but if they can prove that their hands and sizes can be an asset early, defenses will start attaching a defensive back to them.

Obviously, the plan will vary from game to game as the matchups change. I'll be interested to see which receiver combinations are used in different situations. Hell, I'll be interested to see which receivers make the team out of camp. No, I'll be interested to see if there is a camp...I'm off track. 

Something to think about. 3k's Playbook Projector will have lots more on the 2-TE sets. 

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