Would OBJ work in this Rams offense today?
I’m not convinced that, given the evidence above, signing Odell Beckham Jr. would help this LA Rams offense. The Rams are on par with throwing the football to Kupp this year compared to last year. But the Rams have emphasized throwing the football to tight end Tyler Higbee and wide receiver Ben Skowronek over anything they did in 2021.
In reality, Skowronek appears to have picked up Van Jefferson’s targets, as Jefferson had 14 receptions out of 22 targets for 242 yards and two touchdowns after five games. To date, Skowronek has 18 of 24 for 181 yards and no touchdowns after five games.
The Rams are throwing to Higbee, but not getting much out of the increased volume. And the offense has become a vicious cycle. Without more of a threat to run, the Rams’ offense is almost exclusively facing two-deep shell coverages. The Rams’ rushing offense was not great, but the team committed to it enough to force defenses to respect it. Now? Defenses are playing to defend the pass exclusively
OBJ, like Robinson, needs room to run
When the Rams played OBJ, the offense had an established deep threat in Van Jefferson. Not only that, but the team had committed to running the football with RB Sony Michel. OBJ first appeared for the LA Rams in mid-November to face the San Francisco 49ers. In his first two games, he caught seven of 13 passes for 99 yards and 1 touchdown.
But the Rams began to run the football behind RB Sony Michel in Week 13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Through the final six games of the season, Michel rushed 129 times for 540 yards (4.2 YPC) and three touchdowns. In the previous 11 games, Michel was held to 79 rushes for 305 yards (3.8 YPC) and one touchdown.
The Rams’ offense is truly at an impasse right now. Until the Rams commit to running the football behind a capable running back, the Rams will face still pass defense. And until that running game kicks in, there is no time for Stafford to make his progression reads. In short, Odell Beckham Jr. is a luxury that truly makes little sense for this team to consider right now.
Soon, the Rams’ offensive line will be fully restored. When that happens, the Rams will need to rework their offensive strategy to focus on what the team can do well. At that time, I’d look for the Rams to make a bona fide offer to OBJ.
Even if the LA Rams have not offered anything to Odell Beckham Jr., it’s probably the right decision. When he is medically cleared to play, I expect that the Rams will make an offer worth considering. Until that happens, the Rams need to get their own house in order. That is not just reinforcing the offensive line, but resetting the game plan to give the teams’ receivers room to run.