The LA Rams are getting a massive boost at the receiver position this week. Van Jefferson’s return is right on time and what the Rams offense needs after six games. Jefferson hasn’t played a down this season and has been on the injured reserve since September 24th. Van Jefferson’s return is an excellent sign of things to come for the LA offense. Receivers not named Cooper Kupp have performed on a sub-par level this season. Jefferson is the most promising thing to happen to an anemic LA offense in 2022.
Van Jefferson’s Return:
Jefferson missed training camp after two procedures on his left knee in the offseason. He was thought to be ready for week one but showed no improvements in the healing process and found himself on the IR. Through seven weeks, the Rams leading receiver is none other than Cooper Kupp. Their second-leading receiver is Ben Skrowonek, with 221 yards and 23 catches. Of course, Tyler Higbee has shown out and performed well in the tight-end category.
The Allen Robinson project hasn’t worked out to plan, and Matthew Stafford has struggled to perform to the heights he did last season. Add on top of that, the offensive line has been decimated with injuries and has played to a level that resembles the smell of hot garbage; you’ll find the Rams offensive struggles.
Van Jefferson’s return couldn’t come at a better time. As LA gets set for round two tomorrow vs. arch-rival the San Francisco 49ers, the Rams need that extra boost. With Deebo Samuel out among other key players on the Niners side of the ball, the Rams need every home-field advantage they can get. That’s precisely what Van Jefferson’s return has done for this roster. It’s made plenty, including Stafford, very optimistic for the future of this season.
Stafford was quoted as saying, “He’s a really special player. I got to experience some of that last year with his ability to really be a complete receiver.” If your QB is happy that you’re returning, and you’re supposed to be the third option? It’s more than likely that you’re doing something incredibly right to get that praise.
Van Jefferson was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft from the University of Florida. Used in a sparring role, Jefferson put up 220 yards on 19 catches and one touchdown. In 2021, Jefferson’s usage saw an uptick when he worked his way into the starting rotation. Jefferson finished year two with 50 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns.
Van Jefferson’s return means Ben Skrowonek will likely be exclusive in run blocking rather than a full-time pass catcher. It also means that defenses will have to be more honest about their coverage because this guy will take the top off a cheating defensive back and make a house call.
What Jefferson Brings To LA:
Van Jefferson’s return brings a deep threat that has been missing the entire season. Not only that, this team wins when he’s in the lineup. The Rams are 22-11, with Jefferson starting. In those wins, Jefferson gets the job done. In his career, he’s tallied 49 catches for 682 yards and five touchdowns during games the Rams have won. He’s a significant threat in yards-to-go situations of 10+ yards. He’s accumulated 655 yards on 41 catches with three touchdowns in yardage situations of 10+ yards.
Hopefully, with Van Jefferson’s return, LA can get things going again. We know Cooper Kupp will do his thing, and Tyler Higbee will show out. But maybe adding Jefferson will aid Allen Robinson’s first year in the McVay system. The offensive line looks like it might be sured up, paper-wise. But how they perform vs. a pass rush that flattened Stafford the last time they met is the most important thing to keep an eye on Sunday afternoon.
Lastly, Van Jefferson’s return means one more thing to LA. It’s one step closer to being at full strength. Something the Rams haven’t been all year and the reason for most of their struggles. It’s great to have Van “The Man” back on the field this week.
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