Veteran return specialist
The LA Rams certainly targetted players in 2021 who could compete as a returner or coverage player. That does not bode well for wide receiver Nsimba Webster, who handled the return duties for the team almost all of last season. While that in itself is not an omen, because teams target special team contributors all the time, it’s a sign of things to come with an NFL team that finds itself falling to the bottom tier of the NFL rankings.
Los Angeles Rams
Don’t get me wrong. Of the group that tried out for the Rams return game, Webster was certainly one of the more proficient. But that truly isn’t saying much, because punt returns became a hold-your-breath-until-he-catches-the-ball thriller. Kickoff returns were a 50/50 shot of getting the ball out past the 20-yard line. The excitement for the Rams seemed to focus more upon not screwing up, rather than taking it to the house.
Of course, part of that problem developed because of the drastically compressed time frame to prepare for the 2020 season. That collapsed training camp, making it virtually impossible to work out coverage and kicking teams. Most of the special teams’ effort was focused upon finding a decent enough placekicker, and that required the Rams to roll through five kickers before they settled on one.
Webster is on the bubble for two reasons. First, he was the primary returner for both punts and kickoffs, and the Rams return game sank further down in the rankings. Secondly, he is in the last year of his contract. Even if he does have a bounce-back season, the result will be his signing on with a new team anyway. The team has added a number of players who can contribute in the return game, as well as on the offense. Nsimba Webster may find his opportunity to contribute to either eliminated this year.