The LA Rams had used Cooper Kupp as a default punt returner. The Rams have talked about using Odell Beckham Jr. on punt returns. But the LA Rams must baton down the hatches right now, folks. With a wave of injuries hammering upon the team at the wide receiver position, it’s time to pull the team’s top two receiving threats off return assignments.
That means no more punt returns for starting wide receiver Cooper Kupp. It also means never trying Odell Beckham Jr. out in the role, despite the reports of conversations about doing so.
What will that mean for the team? Well, in terms of recent developments? Not much will be different. Recently promoted wide receiver J.J. Koski can handle returning punts, as can running back Buddy Howell handle returning kickoffs.
The LA Rams must optimize their roster right now. That is particularly important as the team prepares to compete in their 10th straight game of the season before their BYE week If there is reason to make changes to the special team assignments, it would be wiser to do so after Week 12.
Optimizing the Rams roster
Koski is both young and fast, and to be honest, showed some promise in his first and only punt return. While Howell did not make the best of decisions, the team did get two positive returns out of him in his first outing in the role, and the team would most certainly benefit from continuity in the role.
So what about Odell Beckham Jr.? Keep him focused exclusively on the passing game for now. After all, he was added to fill a void on offense, not special teams. Furthermore, Odell Beckham Jr. has been signed up for the remainder of the 2021 NFL season, but his contract is over two-thirds composed of incentives re: the team’s success in the post-season. Here’s what we mean:
Actually, here is how his contract breaks down per Spotrac.com:
Regular season play: $1.25 million
Wildcard win (or bye): $500,000
Winning Divisional Round: $750,000
NFC Championship win-Super Bowl appearance: $1.25 million
Winning Super Bowl: $500,000
So if the Rams win the Super Bowl, the team is on the hook for $4.25 million for OBJ. Better to focus on getting him involved in the offense with a set of sub-packages that will help the team and the player win in Week 10.
I get it. Fans are eager to see what Odell Beckham Jr. can do for the team. I expect that Von Miller will have far more potential to impact the Rams’ outcome on Monday Night Football. Let Von Miller catch passes for now.
Hopefully, the Rams will keep OBJ doing offense only for now.