The case for WR Johnson
Rookie wide receiver Van Johnson had his first taste of NFL action last week, pulling in one of the three passes thrown his way for 31 yards. While that may not seem all that impressive, it actually served two critical functions for the Rams rookie. First, he finally has NFL game experience under his belt. There are no more cinemas playing in his head imagining what that first game may be like. He has been there and done that.
But perhaps more importantly, he caught a pass for 31 yards. He’s on the NFL statistics sheet and a contributor to the LA Rams offensive production. In any other year, that is something that is automatic. But in 2020? That’s not a certainty any longer. But the barrier was broken against a pretty good Cowboys defense a week ago.
The LA Rams threw three times at Johnson, and one catch produced 31 yards. If the Rams throw his way three or four times this week and complete all the passes, he’s over 100 yards receiving. That is just simple multiplication. But there is more than math here. Let’s revisit the Washington Philadelphia second game of 2019. In that game, Philadelphia won 37-27. The Washington offensive coordinator was Kevin O’Connell. In that game, Terry McLaurin caught five of five passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.
McLaurin was handled by Darious Slay this year. But Slay will be on Robert Woods or Cooper Kupp. And McLaurin’s twin, Van Jefferson, has Kevin O’Connell as his offensive coordinator in this one. If you think that the Rams would even hesitate to put Jefferson on the front lines and throw him the ball, I don’t think you understand how much the Rams think of their rookie, nor how much confidence that they have in him already. It may not happen. But both the Rams and Jefferson are willing to go there already.