Snaps Lost: St. Louis Rams
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
St. Louis Rams
Overall FTE Lost: 4.73, 12th
FTE Lost: 4.13, 29th
Biggest Losses: Joe Barksdale (1031), Scott Wells (1014), Davin Joseph (907), Shaun Hill (468), Jake Long (449)
Summary – Losing almost 3,000 snaps on the offensive line would be a terrifying proposition for most teams, but when you consider the state of the Rams’ line last year it isn’t necessarily all bad. Wells (-29.7) and Joseph (-24.6) were both in the bottom four at their respective positions, and neither has found a new team since being relieved of their roster spots. Barksdale was a serviceable starter at tackle, but St. Louis elected to let him go, and he’s since signed a one-year deal to become a Charger. Long’s time with the Rams came to an end when he was released this offseason, and it may take some time before the talented-but-injury-prone tackle finds a new team. A career backup, Hill filled in for nearly half of the season and despite interest in re-signing him, he will be a Viking in 2015.
Replacement Plan – Hill is the easy one, as a full season out of the newly acquired Nick Foles will mitigate his loss, but elsewhere there are essentially three spots on the offensive line that need filling. Greg Robinson, last year’s second overall pick, should be expected to play full time, upping his snap count from 749 if all goes well. The center spot should be a competition between Barrett Jones and Tim Barnes and though Barnes is the more experienced of the two, he still has less than 300 NFL snaps under his belt. Back-to-back picks in the second and third rounds yielded two tackles in Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown, while a fourth-round pick netted Andrew Donnal, and the Rams are hoping that between the three they can find at least one starter at right tackle this season and potentially even at guard. If not, the right guard position is likely to be manned by either Garrett Reynolds or whoever doesn’t earn the starting center job.
FTE Lost: 0.60, 1st
Biggest Losses: Kendall Langford (494), Alex Carrington (147)
Summary – For all they lost offensively, the Rams counteract that with the lowest defensive FTE Lost of any team. Langford was released to generate some cap space, and he quickly caught on with the Colts, transitioning to a 3-4 scheme. Carrington joined back up with the Bills after playing the first four years of his career there.
Replacement Plan – He’d have to improve on his injury-limited 297 snaps from last year, but if former Lion Nick Fairley can stay healthy and in shape, he can cover most if not all of their lost snaps while somehow improving what has become one of the best defensive lines in the league.