The LA Rams may have had the biggest exodus of current and former talent this offseason by releasing a star player, trading a star player and seeing several more star players leave via free agency because Les Snead doesn’t have anymore money.
There were some questions about those decisions as well as who would be replacing them. Here’s how those answers are shaping up after three weeks.
Stats: 49 carries, 197 yards, 4 YPC, 2 TD, 3 catches on 7 targets for 3 yards, 1 drop
Gurley played in anywhere from 71-percent of the snaps to 76-percent of the snaps during his last four seasons with the Rams, but through three games in Atlanta he’s played in 54-percent of the snaps. Being a part time running back is one of the reasons LA opted to release Gurley, as Darrell Henderson can take 50-percent of the snaps at a much lower cost in the near future.
If not 71-percent.
The biggest concern for Gurley may be his lack of dual threat abilities anymore. Since averaging 47.2 receiving yards per game from 2017-2018, Gurley is averaging 11.7 per game since the start of 2019. His numbers with the Falcons in that area suggest that he’s a one-dimensional back at this point who hasn’t had a run longer than 25 yards since December 2, 2018 against the Detroit Lions.
Stats: 10 catches on 18 targets, 138 yards, 0 TD, 7.7 Y/T, 0 carries, 2 INT
I tacked on the interceptions at the end there because it’s hard to say what the future will have to say about this particular statistic. What it means is that there have been two times where Deshaun Watson has thrown at Cooks and been intercepted. It’s not a connection that has paid off for Watson or Bill O’Brien as of yet.
Cooks best game came in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens, when he caught 5 of 8 targets for 95 yards. But he’s averaged under 5 Y/T in his two other games. Like Gurley, Cook also doesn’t look different than he did with the Rams last season.
Cory Littleton, LB, Las Vegas Raiders
Stats: 15 tackles, 9 solo, 1 TFL, 0 sacks, 0 INT, 0 FF
The Falcons got Gurley to replace Devonta Freeman, the Texans got Cooks to replace DeAndre Hopkins and the Raiders got Littleton to replace practically nobody. With the worst linebackers in the league according to some (including probably Jon Gruden), the Raiders signed Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski to big free agent deals.
The early results aren’t likely to wipe a scowl off of Gruden’s face.
Kwiatkoski was injured early in the season and Littleton’s had little impact for a defense that just allowed 36 points to the Cam Newton-led New England Patriots even though his best receiver was running back Rex Burkhead. Las Vegas features one of the worst defenses in the early going and if they are to improve, it probably means that Littleton will have to improve.
He’s already been credited with seven missed tackles after having only five in 2019 and 10 in 2018.
Dante Fowler, DE, Atlanta Falcons
Stats: 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QB hits, 1 FF, 8 pressures
The only player on the Rams who has more pressures than Fowler this season is Aaron Donald, who has nine. Leonard Floyd is second with four. But Fowler hasn’t finished off those pressures for any solo sacks yet this year and he played in only 34-percent of the snaps last week because of an ankle injury suffered in Week 2.
Greg Zuerlein, K, Dallas Cowboys
Stats: 7-of-9 on extra points, 5-of-6 on field goals, one onside kick achieved
It’s been good days and bad days for Zuerlein already.
Nickell Robey-Coleman, NCB, Philadelphia Eagles
Stats: 6 tackles, 1 PD, 9-of-10 passing allowed, 114 yards, 1 TD
According to advanced stats, Troy Hill has allowed 18 of 19 completions from the slot for 210 yards, but he does have an interception and no touchdowns allowed yet. Robey-Coleman has been in a similar situation with the 0-3 Eagles.
Marcus Peters, CB, Baltimore Ravens
Stats: 10 tackles, 1 INT, 3 PD, 7-of-11 passing allowed, 53 yards, 0 TD
A member of the 2019 Rams but traded midseason, Peters has been flourishing with the Ravens. Maybe that would have not happened with the Rams — how could they have even afforded it anyway? — but why not check in with him too? Aqib Talib, also traded midseason, is unemployed by an NFL team.