Los Angeles Rams receiver Van Jefferson visited a knee specialist today. Following the consultation, Jefferson decided to schedule a knee surgery for Tuesday.
The surgery is not a major one, and the receiver should return in “a few weeks,” according to coach Sean McVay. While the surgery is minor, there is no timetable for Jefferson’s return. That means there is a possibility that Jefferson misses Week 1, and potentially longer.
Jefferson, the projected third wide receiver for Los Angeles, had a break-out season in 2021. Last year, the sophomore pass-catcher had 802 receiving yards on 50 catches and six touchdowns. Many expected the production in his third year would exceed that of his second.
While that is still possible, the surgery, and possible missed time, put a damper on that prediction. However, a question stems from this revelation: Who will step up if Jefferson misses time this season?
Who will step up for Van Jefferson?
Jefferson looked set for a role as the third wide receiver on the Rams this year.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford could rely more upon starters Allen Robinson and Cooper Kupp. Kupp was Stafford’s man last year. After all, Kupp had a triple crown campaign and is seen as a top player at his position.
Additionally, Tyler Higbee received a good target share from Stafford last year. He was third on the team behind Kupp and Jefferson in that category. Perhaps he could step up in Jefferson’s absence. However, one man has stepped up throughout the Rams’ offseason program so far: Tutu Atwell. Stafford spoke on Atwell during minicamp,
“Everything (Atwell does) seems to be that much more intentional,” Stafford said.
With Atwell showing improvement and being more intentional with his movements, he could walk out of camp with the third spot on the depth chart for Week 1.
Stafford loves throwing deep, after all. Why not have the fastest receiver on the roster have a chance as the deep target? At least until Jefferson is healthy and ready to return.
A possibility exists that no one steps up, and Jefferson will not miss time due to the upcoming surgery. That would be ideal for the Rams, but no one knows quite yet about his status for the start of the season.