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The Rams’ depth has been tested over the last month or so with several players suffering injuries or testing positive for COVID-19. The offensive line has taken a major hit, as has the tight end group and secondary.
Against the Vikings on Sunday, the Rams were close to full strength entering the game but three starters got hurt and forced the coaching staff to make changes on the fly.
Here’s a breakdown of the playing time from Week 16, which shows that Sony Michel still has a firm grip on the running back timeshare – though that could change with Cam Akers coming back.
It wasn’t much of a time share at running back this week, even before Darrell Henderson Jr. got hurt. He played just five snaps and didn’t get his first carry until the third quarter, while Sony Michel played 63 snaps and carried it 27 times for 131 yards.
The offensive line was shuffled a couple of times with several players missing. David Edwards started at left tackle with Coleman Shelton at left guard and Brian Allen at center. But just 18 snaps in, Allen got hurt. That pushed Edwards and Shelton over one spot to their right, inserting Alaric Jackson at left tackle; he played 52 snaps at that spot.
Cooper Kupp continues to lead the wide receivers with a 97% snap share, followed by Van Jefferson (96%) and Odell Beckham Jr. (91%). Ben Skowronek only played four snaps and injured his shoulder.
Tyler Higbee returned after missing two games and played 64 of 70 snaps. That caused Kendall Blanton to only play eight snaps after he was the starter for two games. Brycen Hopkins played just three snaps, too.
Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams played every snap at cornerback, remaining the top two starters in the secondary. Dont’e Deayon was once again the nickel corner, playing 48% of the snaps in sub-packages. David Long Jr. played 13 snaps (21%) too.
Taylor Rapp and Jordan Fuller played every snap, as well. Nick Scott was the third safety, playing 18 snaps against the Vikings.
Aaron Donald only came off the field for two plays, and Greg Gaines likely would’ve been right there with him had he not injured his hand in the middle of the game. He returned and played through the injury, but he still played just 44 snaps. A’Shawn Robinson played 33 snaps and Marquise Copeland helped fill in for Gaines with 21 snaps played. Bobby Brown III played one snap, just the sixth game he’s appeared in on defense.
Troy Reeder played 54 snaps, in part because Ernest Jones got hurt after playing only 11 snaps. Travin Howard played 24 snaps as his replacement, making an impact in that limited action.
Von Miller and Leonard Floyd led the outside linebackers, with Miller playing a team-high 56 snaps at that position. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was limited to 10 snaps, while Justin Hollins played 20 as the third edge rusher in the rotation.