Early on it appeared quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp were going to be the tandem that took the Rams' passing game to new heights. And while they still rank toward the top of the league in many offensive categories, there has been a slight drop-off in recent weeks in comparison to the historic pace they began the year on.
Once opposing teams became aware of the connection between the quarterback and wide receiver, Kupp received additional attention and it looked like Stafford began force-feeding him the ball.
Therefore, it became time to pivot and spread it all around to get everyone involved.
Coach Sean McVay even said publically that he was going to make it a priority to get wide receiver Robert Woods "more opportunities." He and Stafford did just that, targeting Woods 14 times, resulting in 12 catches for 150 yards in the Rams' Week 5 win over the Seahawks.
Stafford was questioned Wednesday at his media availability why is it one week Kupp goes for 100-plus yards and then the next week it’s Woods? How does that come to fruition?
Stafford detailed that it largely comes down to him hitting pass-catchers based on the coverage that opposing defenses throw at him.
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“That’s just the game. Certain defenses are going to allow you to throw the ball into certain places," Stafford said. "Robert was in those places and he did a great job of making the most of the opportunities. He had some great catches going down and getting the ball a couple of times, catching and running on some balls. In other weeks there's going to be other players that get opportunities based on that coverage. At first third down in the game, if you told me that ball was going to Van Jefferson’s backside, I'd probably tell you you're crazy. I didn't think that was going to be the place that's going to go, but the defense dictated that it went there."
Stafford said he tries spreading the ball all around, keeping defenders on their toes, and believes when they can attack in getting everyone involved is when they’re at their very best.
"I'm just trying to make sure that I get the ball to the appropriate receiver," Stafford said. "I'm not a hundred percent when it goes to that, I'm trying to do my best and spread the ball around because I do think when we're spreading the ball around, and the defense has to cover and honor everybody that we're sending vertical, that's when we're at our best.”
Kupp (37) leads the team in receptions, followed by Woods (27), Higbee (17) and Jefferson (14) among others. The Rams currently sit second in the NFL among passing yards per game, averaging 310 yards through the air per contest. By in large, that has equated to L.A. being a top-eight scoring team through the first five weeks into the 2021 season.
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Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.