6 questions still to be answered after Rams sign Odell Beckham Jr.

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Sean McVay said weeks ago not to expect the Rams to make any big splashes before the trade deadline. Well, not only did they make a huge one by acquiring Von Miller in a trade with the Broncos, but they then added Odell Beckham Jr. as a free agent.

The Rams are loading up for a Super Bowl run and on paper, there aren’t many teams more talented than them, if any. And as exciting as it is to have Beckham in L.A. with Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford, there are still some questions to be answered about his role, his health and who will give up snaps to get him on the field.

Will he be OK with not being the No. 1 receiver?

For the first time in his career, Beckham won’t be the top target on offense. He was the No. 1 receiver with the Giants and even though his numbers didn’t show it, he was also the primary receiver in Cleveland.

Now with the Rams, Beckham will have to share targets with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and even Van Jefferson at times. He’s not going to be targeted 10 times a game like he was with the Giants and in his first season with the Browns. More likely, he’ll see 5-6 passes thrown his way per week and he’ll have to make the most of those opportunities.

It’s only half a season so Beckham should be fine with his new role, but this isn’t the same situation he’s been in before.

Can he help in the return game?

Beckham has returned 42 punts in his career but he hasn’t fielded one since 2019 and has just nine punt returns since 2017. That was partly to keep him out of harm’s way, but with the Rams’ desperate need for a return specialist, could he slide in as their punt returner for the rest of the season?

In his first three seasons in the NFL, he averaged 8.0 yards per punt return with a long of 25 yards. He’s an electric athlete in the open field capable of making a big play with the ball in his hands. It’s at least something for the Rams to consider.

Whose role will be reduced with Beckham coming in?

There are only so many snaps to go around and now with four starting-caliber receivers in the mix, someone’s role will have to be trimmed to fit Beckham in. Kupp and Woods aren’t likely to come off the field very often, so it’ll probably be Jefferson whose playing time is reduced moving forward.

McVay should still find ways to integrate four-receiver packages but that won’t take precedence over 11 personnel. Expect to see Jefferson on the field less, with Tyler Higbee potentially getting fewer snaps too when the Rams go four-wide.

Can he block like the Rams’ other receivers?

Woods has the highest run-blocking grade on the Rams this year, according to Pro Football Focus. Cooper Kupp has a solid 64.9 run-blocking grade, too. The Rams have had some of the best blocking receivers in football since McVay took over in 2017, and it’s a big part of their success in the running game.

Beckham is a willing blocker and even though he may not be as good as Woods and Kupp, he’s more than capable of doing it. With how frequently the Rams use bunch sets and slot their receivers close to the line, it’ll be critical for Beckham to block in the running game.

Will McVay get even more pass-happy now?

Fans have grown frustrated with McVay’s reluctance to stick with the run. He has a tendency to get a little bit pass-happy, even admitting this week that he got impatient with his play calling against the Titans.

With a receiving corps like the Rams’ now and a gunslinger quarterback in Stafford, it’s not crazy to think McVay will skew his play calling even more heavily toward the pass. They’ll still run the ball and have success with Darrell Henderson Jr., but McVay will want to keep defenses honest with the Rams’ dynamic passing attack that can make plays at all levels of the field.

How healthy is he?

Beckham has missed significant time with injuries in the last two years, sitting out two games to start this season after tearing his ACL in 2020. He also dealt with a Grade 3 AC joint sprain, which he suffered in the middle of October.

He’s played through the injury and doesn’t plan to have surgery to repair it right now, but there’s obviously some concern about this lingering through the rest of the season. Beckham even said his shoulder has popped out several times.

Hopefully it won’t be an issue moving forward but for a player who has been injured throughout his career, it’s worth monitoring.

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