LA Rams: 3 reasons team is playing percentages on Robert Woods trade

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Robert Woods
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Factor I: The man was frustrated

Understanding what happened begins by honestly evaluating what happened in the events leading up to ‘the trade’. The LA Rams offense was firing on what appeared to be all cylinders in the early part of the season. But upon closer inspection, that was not really the case at all. Things felt a bit lopsided on the offense, or perhaps more aptly described as out of balance.

After four games in the 2021 NFL season, Robert Woods was falling behind his teammates in statistics.  After four games, he had caught just 15 of 25 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns.  A 60 percent catch rate for a seasoned veteran? A player who had averaged 67 percent previously? Anger? Disappointment? Frustration? Per LA Times beat reporter, Sam Farmer, it was pure disgust

When I saw the play, I concurred. He seemed disgusted.

Talking down any emotional outburst

The matter became a talking point in the aftermath, a matter that the media would raise to LA Rams post-game discussion.  In that discussion, McVay wisely downplayed the emotions so as not to create a season-long narrative. But clearly, Robert Woods, who is one of the most stoic and level-headed players on the roster, had some emotions that he vented. That was an uncharacteristic outburst. McVay was asked and addressed that even at the 8:10 mark in the video below:

Let’s take a higher road here, and avoid the temptation of cause and effect from this emotional moment. But we can realistically equate some components of that slow start to the decision that led to his eventual trade. Frustration? Sure. But he did break out the following week against the Seattle Seahawks, piling on 12 of 14 catches for 150 yards.

Woods had historically been the possession guy, a player who caught virtually anything thrown his way but who had not been particularly in the red zone. In 2021, the parameters changed a bit. Van Jefferson and DeSean Jackson were able to thwart defenses by beating them down the field. Robert Woods, a master of getting open in short and intermediate routes, simply fell behind and he became frustrated. The question is, how did the powers-that-be truly work with those emotions?