As I put the snap count piece out after the game, I thought it made sense to go back and see the totals week to week and see what trends are developing. Obviously, some things (Greg Robinson & Tre Mason starting, the Chris Long/Brandon McGee injuries, etc.) throw things off a bit, but let's take a look and see where some Rams units are headed.
Each chart looks at the percentage of plays each player was involved in on their side of the ball.
This was really where I wanted to start. Here's the playing time from all four of the Rams' backs:
I mentioned in the snap count review that I'm not sure what's going on here. Stacy's work rate peaked in week 2 (the Rams' lone victory...) and saw his playing time sapped by Cunningham, but on Monday night Mason cut into both. That comes after he had been unable to even dress let alone get playing time. I can't make heads or tails of a running gameplan...which may very well be the intent. Opponents don't know what combination of the four they're going to face and thus have to prepare for the heavy running styles of Stacy and Cunningham as the primary backs with a change of pace coming from either Mason or Watts.
The Rams went bigger last week with the Quick/Britt/Pettis trio all getting more work. Gotta wonder if that has to do with blocking or the passing game more, but Austin got a slight increase. On the other hand, you have to wonder why your #8 overall pick from a year ago is only on the field a third of the time. I expected the week one rotation to be the standard bearer with increased playing time for Tavon with a Givens, Bailey and Pettis all working for snaps beyond Britt and Quick. For whatever reason, Pettis' role has continued to rise throughout 2014 while the West Virginia pair and Givens are seeing diminished opportunities.
With Carrington out, the Rams pushed Donald to the fore. Langford's time dropped too, obviously. We'll have to see if that keeps up and how Carrington's eventual return affects that. It's a relatively heavy rotation though that only gets deeper when Chris Long returns.
I've combined Joyner and McGee here as Joyner missed week 2, the only game which McGee featured in. Really, it's a look at the 4-3 versus the nickel.
I was surprised to see Dunbar get as much time as he did on Monday coming off the injury, an injury that showed...That comes after the week 5 gameplan against Philadelphia which was obviously geared toward playing the pass. In any case, the Rams have clearly favored the 4-3 overall this season. It's having solid results in the running game since the Tampa win, but it's coming at a cost (see: Dez Bryant, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Lloyd...).
In any case, we're at the point where the trends are forming. Some players are emerging (Greg Robinson, Aaron Donald, Ethan Westbrooks), some have had consistent roles or increases all season (The top WRs) and some are just headed down (Zac Stacy, Chris Givens).
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