Sean McVay wants to get Robert Woods more involved after quiet start

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Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods had co-WR1 for the Rams in the last four years. Jared Goff targeted them almost equally, giving both wideouts opportunities to make plays throughout the season.

With Matthew Stafford stepping in, it was unclear which receiver would become his favorite target in Los Angeles. After four weeks, there’s no doubt that Kupp has emerged as the No. 1 receiver, being targeted 46 times compared to Woods’ 25 targets.

Woods has caught only 15 passes for 172 yards with two touchdowns, and each of his scores have come in garbage time when the game was already decided. He looked frustrated after his late touchdown in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Cardinals, causing some to question whether Woods is unhappy with his role.

Sean McVay doesn’t see it that way, calling him a captain and “a stud” for the Rams.

“I’m not worried about Robert Wood’s demeanor and disposition,” McVay said Monday. “He’s a captain. He was frustrated because I think that was a flip of, ‘we scored’, but that was a frustrating day for all of us. Nobody wants to be in that situation with the standards, the expectations that we have. But if you look at that drive, you talk about a guy that’s competing the right way. He made a handful of plays on that drive. Looked at him compete without the ball on the one screen that we threw to Van Jefferson. This guy’s a stud in every sense of the word.”

Stafford has leaned heavily on Kupp in his first four games with the Rams, almost to a fault in Sunday’s loss. There’s no lack of talent around him on offense, with playmakers all over the field – from Kupp and Woods to DeSean Jackson and Tyler Higbee.

Although there have been times where he’s seemingly forced the ball to Kupp – like on his two goal line incompletions against the Cardinals – Stafford often throws it where the defense dictates.

McVay likes to see the ball spread around on offense, and he wants Woods to be more involved moving forward.

“It is important to be able to get a handful of guys involved,” he said. “That’s something that I always want to continue to be intentional about. I think that’s one of the benefits that we do have is we’ve got five eligibles. Want to be able to spread that wealth while also making sure that sometimes I’m calling plays where guys are the primary and the coverage doesn’t necessarily dictate where the read goes. So, when Robert’s involved, that’s a good thing for the Rams offense. That’s something that we want to continue to see displayed, but Robert is a leader, he’s a captain and he’s been doing a great job up to this point. We just need to get him some more opportunities and that starts with me.”

It might seem like Woods has been ignored through four games, but he wasn’t heavily involved early in the year last season, either. In the first four weeks of 2020, Woods was targeted 26 times, catching 19 passes for 229 yards with one touchdown. This year, he’s been targeted 25 times and has 15 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns.

Not massively different numbers, but Kupp’s significantly larger target share this season has made the gap between him and Woods much more noticeable. There’s no reason to worry about Woods’ feelings about his role, and it’s reasonable to think Stafford will get him the ball more often as defenses begin to bracket Kupp – especially on third down.

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