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Turning a WR into a fullback is McVay’s latest experiment…

September 19, 2022 06:07AM
Turning a wide receiver into a fullback is Sean McVay's latest experiment

[theramswire.usatoday.com]

Cameron DaSilva

On the Rams’ first offensive play of Sunday’s game against the Falcons, Sean McVay pulled back the curtain on a new wrinkle. He lined up Ben Skowronek, who’s traditionally a wide receiver, at fullback in front of Darrell Henderson Jr.

The Rams came out in an I-formation, something rarely seen from McVay’s offense. They don’t have a fullback on the roster and have never really used one, so the ‘I’ is not something McVay has utilized in his five years as a head coach.

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But right off the bat, Skowronek hit the hole with a full head of steam as a lead blocker for Henderson. It only went for a 2-yard gain, but McVay set the tone early with this new wrinkle on offense.

Obviously, he didn’t exclusively use Skowronek as a fullback in the I-formation on Sunday. Skowronek still lined up at wide receiver a bunch. But there were probably close to 10 plays where he aligned in the backfield as a fullback, whether it was to block or catch a pass out of the backfield.

Here’s an example of one play where Skowronek caught a pass as a fullback, which helped him get matched up with a defensive lineman. That’s not a race any D-lineman will win, despite Skowronek not being a burner.

It’s easy to see that Skowronek doesn’t look like most fullbacks. He’s 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds with long arms and a high-cut frame. Patrick Ricard, the Ravens’ fullback, is 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds. 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk is 6-1, 235 pounds.

And those two players even look different than fullbacks of 10-15 years ago.

Despite his unusual body type for the position, Skowronek has two things that make him an effective fullback: (relative) athleticism and a willingness to block. Here, he gets outside on a toss play and seals off the linebacker to spring Henderson for a 13-yard gain.

And he’s not afraid to plow into the defense with a head full of steam as a lead blocker. His blocking technique may not be perfect, but the effort is unquestionably there.

After the game, McVay explained what made him comfortable with using Skowronek as a fullback, pointing to his desire to mix up the personnel groupings, despite the fact that Skowronek is still technically a receiver.

“We always feel like there’s different things that you can present and when you’ve got movable pieces,” he said. “Ben enabled us to be able to present some 21 type of looks out of 11 personnel and that’s what some of these guys do in a 21 grouping with fullbacks that are athletic enough and it’s just kind of the inverse of that so we’ll see.”

So will fullback Ben Skowronek remain a wrinkle in the playbook moving forward?

“It didn’t really have anything to do with anything other than we felt like that was the best approach for this week,” McVay continued. “Whether that’s something that we use this coming week will be predicated on how we best feel like we want to try to attack Arizona.”

McVay was pleased with the way Skowronek handled his new, versatile role. A lot was asked of the Rams receiver, and while he only caught two passes for 16 yards – a quiet stat line for a wideout – he had a positive impact on the game as a blocker.

“When you’ve got tough players that you can utilize in a bunch of different ways, really proud of what he did, not surprised,” McVay said. “But he’s just a football player. He can play receiver, he lined up in the eye a handful of times today. I’m really happy to be working with Ben Skowronek.”

This isn’t the first time McVay has mixed things up and tried to evolve as an offensive game planner. Last year, he used Joe Noteboom as a third tight end at times, going with heavy packages when the Rams tried to spark the running game. At the end of the 2020 season, when the Rams were so reliant on 11 personnel, McVay used 12 personnel with two tight ends.

He’s always trying to bring fresh ideas to the offense and while this may not be a strategy that sticks for the rest of the season, it’s good to see McVay trying something new to help get the offense on track.
SubjectAuthorViewsPosted

  Turning a WR into a fullback is McVay’s latest experiment…

Rams43470September 19, 2022 06:07AM

  Re: Turning a WR into a fullback is McVay’s latest experiment…

AlbaNY_Ram193September 19, 2022 06:58AM

  They should use him in goal to go situations

promomasterj115September 19, 2022 09:23AM

  So sick of these experiments with non athletes

Stafford9120September 19, 2022 09:50AM

  Re: So sick of these experiments with non athletes

Ramstien103September 19, 2022 09:56AM

  Re: So sick of these experiments with non athletes

Ramsdude78September 19, 2022 01:44PM

  Re: So sick of these experiments with non athletes

DomerRam112September 19, 2022 01:41PM

  Skow is definitely an athlete

Coy Bacon88September 19, 2022 01:50PM

  Re: So sick of these experiments with non athletes

Rampage2K-74September 19, 2022 02:00PM

  I feel as bad, when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor

Stafford956September 23, 2022 10:46AM

  +1

Ridgewood Ram62September 19, 2022 02:53PM

  To much Jamaican Rum

Stafford947September 23, 2022 10:29AM

  stupid waste of 1/11th of the offense (nm)

L.A.Rams127September 19, 2022 11:05AM

  Rams offense thrived against Falcons with Ben Skowronek at fullback

AlbaNY_Ram80September 20, 2022 10:25AM

  Re: Rams offense thrived against Falcons with Ben Skowronek at fullback

Rams Junkie71September 20, 2022 11:07AM

  "three times more successful"... doesn't sound "stupid" to me...

RAMbler80September 20, 2022 10:58AM

  I like the WR/FB

merlin57September 24, 2022 01:44PM

  Re: I like the WR/FB

SoCalRAMatic75September 24, 2022 02:44PM

  Well when will he get his first carry?

David Deacon82September 24, 2022 03:22AM