Who will take on the WR3 role for the Los Angeles Rams, QB Matthew Stafford? – Los Angeles Rams blog

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  • Lindsey ThiryESPN

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif .– Los Angeles Rams recipient Robert Woods smiled big when he noticed he was asked the question during an off-season video conference with reporters.

If Woods runs a route and is open but doesn’t get the ball from Matthew Stafford, will he return to the huddle and let his quarterback know to look for him next time?

“Of course,” said Woods, chuckling. “I always let the quarterback know that I was open. You have to stay in his ear and be a memory. “

In his 13th NFL season, but first in LA, Stafford is likely to have no shortage of playmakers to tweet at when the season opens on September 13 against the Chicago Bears in Sunday Night Football. The Rams return receivers Woods, Cooper Kupp and sophomore Van Jefferson. Over a two-month period during the off-season, they also signed veteran DeSean Jackson to a one-year free agent contract for $ 4.5 million. then chose Tutu Atwell of Louisville in the second round of the NFL draft.

Stafford will also have Tyler Higbee and running back Cam Akers on hand.

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“The best I can tell you is that it’s not my choice,” Jackson said with a laugh when asked if there were enough soccer balls. “I’ll leave that to Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford.”

Woods earned a four-year extension worth up to $ 68 million prior to last season and Kupp a three-year extension worth up to $ 48 million. After four seasons under Rams coach Sean McVay, both are firmly established on the offensive and are expected to resume their familiar roles this season.

The third receiver spot is less established and was filled last season by Josh Reynolds, who moved to the Tennessee Titans as a freelance agency.

Rams general managers Les Snead and McVay barely kept it secret that this off-season they would be chasing after a playmaker – one with the speed and ability to stretch a defense – something they lacked in last season’s 6-10 finish. It was somewhat of a surprise, however, that they caught Jackson and then Atwell with their first draft pick, especially after Jefferson – a second-round pick in 2020 – showed potential in his rookie season.

“In a way, that’s a luxury,” said Kupp. “You have such a deep group of guys and the next best thing is that the guys aren’t fixated on one position, the guys want to learn all of the offense, so you have five guys who can play any position you want them to ask.”

Jackson has a story with McVay, who served three seasons in Washington as his offensive coordinator. The 14-year-old professional has spent the last two seasons slowed down and to the side due to injuries but expressed confidence that he can stay healthy on his return to his hometown.

“It’s definitely going to be a scary group for defensemen and defenders because Sean McVay, one thing is, he’s going to figure out how to open you up,” said Jackson, who is sixth all-time in the NFL at 17.4 yards per reception. “So we’re just looking forward to having a lot of fun with it.”

After being voted 57th overall last year, Jefferson has quickly built a reputation for being a mature loner and sophisticated distance runner. He flashed during training camp but saw limited options during the regular season.

When asked about his comfort with the offensive in Year 2, Jefferson admitted he wasn’t as firm as he looked in his rookie season.

“If I have to be honest, I was a rookie who came in last year. My head was spinning and stuff,” said Jefferson, who caught 19 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown. “But I think I’m more comfortable now.”

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McVay called Jefferson a “great bright spot” this off-season.

“He really put the work into it,” said McVay. “He’s come back to establish himself as a legitimate guy, a guy we count on for big things, and I think the future is so bright.”

When asked if the Rams would add two more receivers this off-season, Jefferson said he must be comfortable with the decision.

“You just take it one day at a time,” Jefferson said. “You know, don’t pay attention and just go out there and do and work every day and everything else will take care of itself.”

Woods said Atwell played with bragging rights during the offseason program, showing his quickness and ability to get into the field quickly.

“He plays with a lot of heart and speed,” said Woods.

However, with Jefferson’s advances, and if Jackson stays healthy, Atwell could face an uphill battle for game time.

McVay compared Atwell’s skills to Jackson, and although the Rams invested a second-round pick in Atwell, reps with Stafford behind Woods, Kupp, Jackson and Jefferson could be limited for the rookie expected to return punts on specialty teams.

“Right now I’m just getting my feet wet,” Atwell said during the organized team activities. “Just pretty much learn games and just watch [veteran players] and ask them questions and how to do it and how to do it. “

Woods said chemistry grows on and off the field, and each recipient brings a unique talent and ability.

“All of these players are doing different things and what they bring to our offense is going to be a really great combination that gives you the whole field, downfield, fly sweeps, intermediate screens,” said Woods. “I think everyone can contribute in every single way.”

Stafford kept it simple when asked how his numerous playmakers can achieve goals.

“For me,” said Stafford, “I just think the assignment sounds, open up and catch the ball.”

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