While the Rams are looking noticeably different today compared to 2018 and 2019, McVay is still the man leading the charge, and he’s hoping to get even more creative with his play-calling moving forward. The NFC West is growing more and more competitive following the addition of Trey Lance to San Francisco, making the Rams’ goal of winning the division that much more challenging.
The good news for LA is that McVay and the Rams have a shiny new rookie that they plan to utilize as a “secret weapon” of sorts.
Sean McVay and the LA Rams are looking to get creative with rookie WR Tutu Atwell
The Rams didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, making the 57th overall pick their first draft night selection. With glaring holes across the offensive line, many expected the team to prioritize beefing up their trenches with their second-rounder.
Surprisingly, the Rams drafted wide receiver Tutu Atwell. A move that one can only assume was heavily influenced by McVay and his affinity for speedy offensive players.
Why was drafting Atwell so surprising? For starters, he’s 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds. Draft analysts were critical of the Eagles for selecting the undersized DeVonta Smith in the first round — drafting a 155 pound WR in the second round was viewed as borderline malpractice, especially considering how below average the Rams’ offensive line is.
With all of that said, McVay clearly has a plan.
Atwell played 92% of snaps against the Raiders
There was a sense of uncertainty following the selection of Atwell for a majority of Rams fans. The former Louisville product is an absolute burner with an exceptional amount of agility, but finding success in the NFL at 155 pounds is borderline impossible considering how physical the game has become.
For Atwell to be a productive player, he will have to establish himself as a true outlier.
Thus far, McVay appears committed to making sure that happens.
During the Rams’ preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Atwell was established as a focal point to the LA offense. He played in 70 offensive snaps (92%) and was targeted 13 times. Atwell hauled in eight receptions for a total of 46 yards.
It wasn’t a groundbreaking performance by any stretch of the imagination. However, the high volume of snaps and targets paints the picture of someone who will see usage in 2021.
McVay and the Los Angeles Rams will have to juggle a crowded WR room
The only thing that will hold Atwell back during his first season is the Rams’ crowded WR depth chart. Rams analyst Aqib Talib highlighted that the rookie wideout faces an uphill battle with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, and DeSean Jackson on the roster (Pro Football Talk).
With that said, Jackson has been a walking injury the past two seasons, and McVay is an offensive mastermind. Whether it’s through special teams, end-arounds, screens, etc., the Rams head coach should be able to get his new rookie weapon involved.
The team just sold their soul to acquire quarterback Matthew Stafford and win a Super Bowl. Why keep your electrifying rookie off the field?