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Did Personnel Groupings on Sunday Indicate Where This Team Is Headed?

The trends of personnel usage suggest the Rams may be headed in a new direction for the second half of the 2014 season.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As I looked at the snap counts yesterday, I couldn't help but plug them in to the season totals to see where things are headed. Here are a couple groupings that stand out and where things are shaping up moving forward:

Running Back

RBs Week 9

The Tre Mason Show is in full effect. I'll have his Monday press conference remarks up in a bit, but Fisher is still riding the idea that it's a full RBBC. We'll have to see if there's any truth to that or if he's serious that Zac Stacy could come back and lead the charge down in Phoenix. Worth noting that Week 9 was just the second of the season in which a running back took more than 60% of the snaps.

Wide Receiver

WRs Week 9

With Brian Quick gone for the season due to injury and Austin Pettis gone for the season due to welp, the remaining four were bound to see an overall increase. Kenny Britt was first in line jumping in on 90%+ of the snaps on Sunday for the first time. And while Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey have been featured much more frequently in the last two weeks, I'm not sure that Chris Givens is going to be on the outs. I'd expect more week 8-level work than the sparse playing time we saw against the 49ers.

Tight Ends

TEs Week 9

Tight end usage is clearly a week to week proposition as the coaching staff decides how big they want to play. Look at how light they went in week 6 for Monday Night Football as Jared Cook, the receiving option, topped 80% of the snaps with Cory Harkey and Lance Kendricks at season lows. The following week against Seattle featured a much heavier formation with big jumps for Kendricks and Harkey. I'm not sure what we'll see against Arizona, but the Kendricks-Harkey correlation seems obvious.

Defensive Line

D-Line Week 9

This one's tough to get much out of and may get tougher if Chris Long is able to get back any time soon. I guess if anything, we can just look at the first three weeks and then see who's risen in playing time and who has fallen off (though I'd point to William Hayes who has an injury that is skewing things, but it's the NFL...that tends to happen).

Risers: Aaron Donald, Eugene Sims

Fallers: Kendall Langford, Ethan Westbrooks

Nickel v. 4-3

Nickel Week 9

Three factors to consider here. Has the rise in nickel formations come because (a) LaMarcus Joyner is improving as a rookie week to week, (b) has Jo-Lonn Dunbar's injury prevented them from relying on the 4-3 less than they would have or (c) is it just the nature of the early opponents vs. the OOP that's seen Joyner on the field more than half the time the last three weeks?