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Sean McVay’s usage of Tutu Atwell against the Saints was baffling

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Tutu Atwell is listed as 5’9″ and 165 pounds. Even by college football standards, he is smaller than a receiver.

It doesn’t take an expert to understand that a player this size is probably not very effective as a blocker in a running game. Someone should tell Sean McVeigh about this, because against the Saints he saw Atwell as more of a blocker than a receiver.

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Atwell played a total of seven snaps against the Saints. He ran exactly one route, resulting in a 62-yard touchdown, the biggest game of Atwell’s career. He was able to show his speed, which is why the Rams chose him in the second round last year.

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In the remaining six shots, Atwell blocked runs. He ran no other route other than a 62-yard touchdown.

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It’s not that Atwell is a terrible blocker; in fact, he held his own and received a 58.3 from the PFF in that department. The thing is, he really has no excuse for running one route and blocking the other six snaps.

Since last season, Atwell has played 40 offensive snaps. He ran courses on 20 of them, was a pass blocker on 19 of them, and took a pass once. Last season he did not run a single route. This is a strange way to use a deep threat.

Atwell’s use on Sunday is particularly inexcusable given that he made a big play on the only route he ran. He flew past Chris Harris Jr. and Tyranne Mathieu for a touchdown. It was his second deep reception of the season after catching a 54-yard throw earlier in the year.

Why not give him another chance to take the upper hand off the defense? I know Stafford went down with an injury and missed part of the game, so it was hard to make deep passes, but at least he can stretch the field and create space for the rest of the attack.

Blocking is part of the wide receiver game in the NFL, especially on offense with the Rams. But Atwell is not as complex as Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods or Allen Robinson. He’s a gadget player like Tavon Austin.

With the Rams in the 3-7 position and Cooper Kupp missing for the next 5+ weeks, McVeigh needs a better plan for Atwell. He never took more than 10 offensive snaps in a game and never ran more than eight routes in one competition.

Give him a chance to contribute and help fill the void left by Kupp. He doesn’t need to play every snap or be targeted six times a game, but Atwell plays an important role on this team. McVeigh said it this summer when he kept Atwell out of preseason to avoid injury.

McVeigh must find a way to turn on the second year.


Rams PFF Ratings: Best and Worst Players vs. Saints in Week 11

The story originally appeared on Rams Wire.


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