In the third quarter of last week’s 51-17 victory over the Giants, the Rams began their drive after Cory Littleton’s blocked punt at New York’s 18-yard line. It wouldn’t take the visitors long to score another touchdown, which would give them a 48-10 lead.
But before running back Todd Gurley’s second rushing TD, L.A. began the series in ‘13’ personnel — one running back, three tight ends, one wide receiver. Of the tight ends group, Tyler Higbee was lined up on the left, while Derek Carrier and Gerald Everett were lined up on the right.
Everett, however, would come in motion across the formation. And just after quarterback Jared Goff fielded the snap from under center, he turned around and gave the ball to Everett on a jet sweep.
That’s right — a tight end jet sweep. And it went 13 yards for a signfiicant first down.
“Coach McVay is a genius,” Everett said this week.
He means head coach Sean McVay, who has taken a team that finished No. 32 in scoring last year and transformed it into one that now leads the league averaging 32.9 points per game.
And while running back Todd Gurley is undoubtedly the offense’s headliner, McVay has been particularly creative in utilizing Evertt’s considerable skillset. The tight end has lined up all over the place for L.A. — in line, split out wide, and sometimes even in the backfield. Everett has run short routes, deep routes, taken shovel passes inside, and that one jet sweep.
“I love it,” Everett said of his role as basically the Swiss Army knife of the Rams’ offense. “But just being there for the team and playing my part and doing my role, trying to get to 7-2 — I’ll do whatever it is. Even if that wasn’t my role, I would just try to be the best I can for my teammates.”
In last Sunday’s game alone, Everett’s two plays displayed how unique he is for a tight end listed at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds. Aside form the jet sweep, on Everett caught a 44-yard deep ball from Goff on third down in the first quarter, setting up a field goal.
“He’s a great athlete,” McVay said earlier this week. “He makes a big play on the third down [last Sunday], runs the jet sweep. You look at what he did in Jacksonville a couple weeks ago on the shovel pass. So, he’s a guy that we’ll continue to try to move around and find ways to get the ball in his hands.”
As unique as the tight end jet sweep appeared, Everett said it actually wasn’t the first time he’s run a play like that.
“My junior and senior year in college, probably the first time I took a jet sweep,” Everett said. “You know, on 3rd-and-short, red zone stuff — same thing we’re doing here.”
Having run it before, Everett said he felt comfortable getting back to the jet sweep in the pros.
“Just getting to this point, it’s kind of a sense of relief — finally, I can translate that from college to the league,” Everett said. “And coach McVay has that confidence in me and the rest of the offense that we can get something like that done.
“When I saw him put the jet sweep in, I was like, ‘OK, now we’re talking,’” Everett added. “And then when he finally called it, I knew they were going to secure the blocks, and I was just trying to get as many yards as I could.”
Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur credited Los Angeles’ personnel staff for finding a player with Everett’s versatility.
“I think it goes back to just like our scouting department did a great job evaluating him coming out and we liked what we saw,” LaFleur said. “We worked him out and we saw a versatile guy that can makes plays with the ball in his hands. He’s got great athleticism and that gives us the versatility to kind of move him around and put him in spots where we think can be successful.”
“He’s also going to continue to grow as a tight end,” McVay said. “Playing in-line, contributing in the run game, whether that be a movable piece kind of as a lead blocker, as that H-back or even just playing in-line. But, he’s got a bright future. He’s a joy to be around and it was good for Gerald to be able to make some of those big plays [last Sunday].”
And so as the season continues, Everett expects McVay to continue to utilize him creatively in Los Angeles’ scheme.
“He’s drawing up things constantly for us, whether they’re new concepts or old concepts,” Everett said. “And I’m glad that I can take a jet sweep in the NFL now.”