His diminutive size was an issue during his rookie year. But he has learned how to turn his 5-foot-9, 165-pound frame into an asset, particularly running the ball on jets sweeps as he gets lost behind his blockers, making it hard for defenders to find him.
“Tutu’s really taking that next step,” Rams linebacker Ernest Jones told the team’s website. “I’m super impressed with the way he’s just attacking the ball right now. His ability is showing right now. And he has some great ability.”
McVay said another thing helping Atwell is that he’s more familiar with the offense now. And with all the injury issues the Rams dealt with last season, McVay needs as many players who can play different roles as possible.
“If last year taught us anything, you got to be ready for contingency plans,” McVay said. “He’s a guy that’s going to have a role for us [because of] his ability to move around and make sure that we don’t have to have certain guys play every single snap. … He’s a nice complement to some of the other guys that we have, and so I’m really pleased with what he’s done.
“He’s a super smart guy. He’s got a really high capacity as a learner. You could see good, aggressive hands and obviously, he can run and do all those types of things. But he’s becoming a more complete player. Looking forward to seeing what that looks like when the pads come on.”
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.