How does Matthew Stafford affect the LA Rams 53-man roster?

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Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matthew Stafford LA Rams DeSean Jackson
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Wide receiver diversity

For the most obvious starter, the LA Rams have expanded their wide receiver standards significantly. For the 2020 season, the team’s receiver corps was fairly homogenous. Whether it was Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, or even Josh Reynolds, the team had a rather interchangeable cast of offensive targets that were fairly interchangeable and relied upon separation created by a rather complex route tree.

This year, that single-type mold has expanded. The Rams have their 2020 complement of receivers, but this year have a new version spearheaded by veteran DeSean Jackson. He leads a speedy, deep-threat style of receiver that includes rookie Tutu Atwell as well as second-year receiver J.J. Koski.  You may even want to slide Trishton Jackson into that grouping, as he worked all of Tutu Atwell’s snaps when Atwell was quarantined. How has that translated in the preseason so far?

Tracking those new speedy receivers

Well I don’t think it is any random coincidence that both J.J. Koski and Tutu Atwell were the most targeted receivers in preseason, do you? And that intensity of work can certainly be indicative of the Rams offense working very hard to get two speedy receivers up to speed for their starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to hook up with during the regular season.

J.J. Koski                  12 of 19, 102 yards
Tutu Atwell            18 of 26  129 yards
Trishton Jackson     5 of 7       55 yards 1 TD

While it’s premature to anticipate how many offensive snaps either player gets in the Rams 2021 offense, or even if they make the 53-man roster, it’s clear that the Rams intend to infuse speedy receivers into their offense this year.

As a side note, Trishton Jackson was not used heavily during preseason matchups. While some of that can certainly be attributable to a minor knee injury incurred against the LA Chargers, he was not brought heavily targeted in the final game. In other circumstances, such as that of running back Jake Funk, the third preseason game activity seemed to signify the players’ likelihood of making it on the 53-man roster.