With the 2016 Los Angeles Rams opening the regular season in less than a week on Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers, let’s take a look at the 53-man roster and how a Week 1 depth chart might look.
|Case Keenum||Sean Mannion||Jared Goff|
Here’s the thing about Jared Goff being “third string.” Should Case Keenum get injured, play horribly or some combination thereof (remember the Shaun Hill 2014 Week 1 foolishness?), would Sean Mannion actually take over in game action? Remember, Mannion played with the backup backups all preseason. He never actually got any reps with the top of the rest of the offensive depth chart, something we can’t say about Goff.
So while the depth chart might indicate Goff is “behind” Mannion, I’m not entirely sure that would be the case when it matters...
|Todd Gurley||Benny Cunningham||Malcolm Brown||Chase Reynolds|
Something we haven’t gotten too deep with is how much rest Todd Gurley is going to need. Here’s how he rotated last year, with the obvious footnote being that he was worked into the season resting the first two games:
Gurley: 456 snaps (47.60% of offensive snaps, 48.87% of RB snaps); 229 rushes (65.99% of RB rushes)
Cunningham: 282 snaps (29.44%, 30.23%); 37 rushes (10.66%)
Tre Mason: 182 snaps (19.00%, 19.51%); 75 rushes (21.61%)
Malcolm Brown: 9 snaps (0.94%, 0.96%); 4 rushes (1.15%)
Isaiah Pead: 3 snaps (0.31%, 0.32%); 2 rushes (0.58%)
Chase Reynolds: 1 snap (0.10%, 0.10%); 0 snaps (0.00%)
So there are two central questions here. One is does the 50% of snaps and 66% of rushes as the mark still hold as the target? Given that Gurley missed essentially 3.5 games last year, do those numbers go up assuming he’s available and healthy for all 16 regular season contests? Does his lack of exceptional passing game skills keep those numbers low on its own? The second question is on the rotation behind him. With Pead and Mason removed from the group, how much work do Cunningham and Brown get? Cunningham was clearly installed as a passing game role (see the discrepancy between the playing time he and Mason got and how many more carries Mason received).
We’ll get our first answer on Monday...
|Tavon Austin||Kenny Britt||Pharoh Cooper||Brian Quick||Nelson Spruce||Bradley Marquez||Mike Thomas|
WR depth charts are always a bit funky since they’re not linear like most other positions. You’ve only got one QB on the field at a time. You’ve only got one RB most of the time in the NFL. But for WRs, you can go five-wide. The Rams went with the 11 formation (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) 50% of the time last year. So the real question is how much of the time that will mean a Austin-Britt-Cooper look. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brian Quick get time in a three-man front.
Two things to note. One, injuries are playing a part in shaping the position depth chart right now. The Week 1 personnel will likely differ significantly from the Week 9 personnel following the bye. Two, we know Jeff Fisher has an aversion to playing rookies early on. So the Cooper-Spruce-Thomas trio will likely get more work after the bye than before it.
|Lance Kendricks||Cory Harkey||Tyler Higbee||Temarrick Hemingway|
The Cory Harkey slot messes this one up a bit since he plays an entirely different position than the other three. I’ll definitely be tracking the Kendricks-Higbee-Hemingway playing time matrix.
|LT||Greg Robinson||Pace Murphy|
|LG||Rodger Saffold||Cody Wichmann|
|C||Tim Barnes||Demetrius Rhaney|
|RG||Jamon Brown||David Arkin|
|RT||Rob Havenstein||Andrew Donnal|
This one’s a bit misleading since you’ve got some rotational ability. If I was breaking it out for each position with duplicate roles for the guys, it’d look like this:
|LT||Greg Robinson||Rodger Saffold||Rob Havenstein||Andrew Donnal||Pace Murphy|
|LG||Rodger Saffold||Cody Wichmann||Demetrius Rhaney||David Arkin|
|C||Tim Barnes||Demetrius Rhaney||David Arkin|
|RG||Jamon Brown||Rodger Saffold||Cody Wichmann||Demetrius Rhaney||David Arkin|
|RT||Rob Havenstein||Rodger Saffold||Andrew Donnal||Pace Murphy|
That’s how you get the lineup we saw for the preseason with Rob Havenstein out which kicked Rodger Saffold over to RT opening up for Wichmann at LG.
Same as the OL. Here’s the single listing:
|LDE||William Hayes||Ethan Westbrooks||Matt Longacre|
|LDT||Aaron Donald||Dominique Easley|
|RDE||Robert Quinn||Eugene Sims|
And the full:
|LDE||William Hayes||Eugene Sims||Ethan Westbrooks||Matt Longacre|
|LDT||Aaron Donald||Dominique Easley|
|RDT||Michael Brockers||Dominique Easley|
|RDE||Robert Quinn||William Hayes||Eugene Sims||Ethan Westbrooks|
Not a ton to worry about here. We know Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams likes to rotate here. The real question for me is how much rotation he’ll squeeze that rotation down since he’s only got eight defensive linemen to work with.
|MLB||Alec Ogletree||Bryce Hager||Josh Forrest|
|OLB||Nic Grigsby||Cory Littleton|
|Trumaine Johnson||E.J. Gaines||Coty Sensabaugh||Lamarcus Joyner||Troy Hill|
Doesn’t seem like Lamarcus Joyner has enjoyed his preseason very much...
|S||T.J. McDonald||Maurice Alexander||Cody Davis|
|Mark Barron Hybrid Role Brought To You By American Airlines||Mark Barron|
Eager to see how Williams uses the other safety spot alongside McDonald this year with McLeod gone.
Oh, whatever. You know how this looks.