Sharp Football stats point to huge problem, now here's how Rams fix it

Puka Nacua, Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Puka Nacua, Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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What drove the Rams receivers to suddenly start dropping balls?

Let's pretend that Stafford had the same receiver error as the Philadelphia Eagles receivers. That would have improved his completion percentage by eight percentage points, all the way up to 70.3 percent completion. That would have meant 42 more completions, 508 more passing yards, and two more touchdown passes. With those stats, even having missed two games, he would have risen to be among the Top-5 quarterbacks of 2023.

Now, the question becomes, is that something that can be rectified for 2024? I think so, and here's why.

The LA Rams experienced several problems in 2023 that may have driven down the receivers' effectiveness. For starters, the veteran WR Cooper Kupp had to struggle through injuries nearly the entire season. While he missed five games, even when he played, he struggled with those injuries, limiting his effectiveness. Kupp's 62.1 percent catch rate in 2023 was nearly 15 percent points lower than that of 2022, confirming that his injuries played a huge factor in his ability to catch the football.

The second factor that may have tipped the scale downwards is the fact that the offense had to rely so heavily upon rookie WR Puka Nacua. While Nacua certainly did make some circus catches, his 65.6 percent catch rate trailed that of veteran WR Demarcus Robinson (66.7 percent catch rate).

A third factor that contributed is the fact that the team relied more heavily upon WR Tutu Atwell in 2023. Similar to that of a baseball's home run sultan, the Rams seem to either hit a home run or strike out with Atwell. Atwell's catch rate in 2023 was only 58.2 percent, suggesting that he is not catching all of the passes that hit his hands. But when he does catch the pass, he can put up a lot of yards. He averaged 12.4 yards per reception in 2023, as well as scoring a touchdown on 7.7 of his receptions.