It’s time for the LA Rams to call DeSean Jackson’s number

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams decided to sign veteran free agent DeSean Jackson to add to the LA Rams receiver room. By doing so, it was believed that DJacc would infuse a bit of deep threat speed among the wide receivers in a way that would stretch the defense, open up running lanes, and ensure that the short and intermediate passing routes would be less populated by defensive backs.

Of course, there was that nagging concern about his availability. In two previous seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, he played just eight games. To mitigate the risk of injury in 2021,  the LA Rams wanted to make sure that he was not overworked, so the team pledged to limit his snap count.  Well, I think that the team has gone a bit overboard on that conservative approach.

Rams pledge to limit snaps

The LA Rams made a similar pledge to mete out the snap count for running back Darrell Henderson. But in the first two games, Henderson has played 89 offensive snaps before falling to injury. So far in 2021, he had rushed 29 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Henderson has also caught four of six passes for an additional 46 yards.

But wide receiver DeSean Jackson has only played for 17 offensive snaps in two games. Surprisingly, the Rams did throw to him twice, and he has two catches for 21 yards. At this pace, he is on track to finish the season with 140 offensive snaps, 17 receptions, and a whopping total of just 180 receiving yards. If that was the plan when the Rams signed DeSean Jackson up for a one-year $4.5 million contract, then someone needs to be sent to summer school.

I’m not sure what the Rams organization had planned for DeSean Jackson when the team added him, but I am certain that DeSean Jackson is not happy with 17 offensive snaps in two games time. Not in the least. D Jackson is a player who electrifies the stadium, who gets the house rocking, and then uses that energy to make even more amazing plays.

He can’t make plays on the bench. He can’t make plays averaging eight snaps per game.

It will be up to Rams HC Sean McVay to get him more involved.

Time to plug DeSean Jackson into this offense

Veteran players can be counted on to deliver. But veteran skill players need to be involved, to touch the pulse of the competition, to feel the flow of the game.  While we are not suggesting that DeSean Jackson suddenly get a workload of 40+ snaps in a single game, a healthy dose of 12-20 snaps and 3-10 targets per game would be a good number.

Are the Rams playing possum? Are the Rams purposefully saving DeSean Jackson for a big game against his former team? He played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 and 2018, before joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019. In both of their wins, the Buccaneers defense hasn’t exactly snuffed a passing offense.

The Buccaneers passing defense is the third-worst defense in terms of giving up passing yards, allowing an average of 342 passing yards per game.  They get wins because they happen to field the second-ranked rush defense, allowing just 57.5 yards per contest.  And they have perfected a bend-but-not-break pass defense, allowing five touchdowns but creating four interceptions. That is after losing cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting to a dislocated elbow early in the Dallas Cowboys game in Week 1.

Lock and load

The Buccaneers have limited opposing offenses to keep everything in front of them.  The longest pass play allowed so far was a 31-yard completion to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. The LA Rams enter this one knowing that the offense will need to plan to score 40 plus points because the Buccaneers have averaged 39 points in their first two games.

This is no time to be cute and try to save something for tomorrow. The LA Rams face an incredibly potent NFL offense, and cannot simply sit back in the hope that the defense will be able to do what two other NFL defenses have not come close to doing – holding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense to 20 points or less.

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No. The LA Rams have to believe that winning in Week 3 means outscoring the opponent. To do that, the Rams will need the help of all of their viable offensive weapons. That means that it’s time for the LA Rams to call DeSean Jackson’s number. Once they do that, SoFi Stadium will be rocking once more.