Why I like LA Rams WR Van Jefferson to break out in 2022
Reason II: More familiarity with QB Matthew Stafford
Something that could be easily overlooked about the receiver group in 2021 is the simple fact that they did not get to work with veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford right away. Because Stafford was himself learning the Rams offense, it was QB John Wolford who ran drills with the receivers while Stafford worked elsewhere, drilling on learning the playbook and on how to work within the offensive system.
Clearly, the process of divide-and-conquer worked wonders for the team. But perhaps not as well with some of the depth receivers. Those early training camps limited Stafford’s work to one or two receivers, and Van Jefferson was not on that list. That may have been a contributing factor to the drop in Jefferson’s catch percentage in 2021.
Synching with Stafford
Synching up with Stafford could and likely will be atop the To-Do list for Jefferson this year, from OTAs, through training camp, and then through the entirety of the 2022 NFL season. Stafford is incredibly instinctive during the game. He connected so well with veteran WR Cooper Kupp because they were able to diagnose and counter defenses simultaneously.
Van Jefferson, now in his third NFL season, is still developing that ability to examine, process, and strategize ways to defeat defenses in real-time during a game. But that should come far more quickly in year three, particularly as he has a far greater chance to work with Stafford throughout training camp this year. Stafford knows the Rams offense now. So the next step is to coordinate what he sees with Jefferson, to ensure they remain on the same page for 2022.