The Los Angeles Rams head to Levi’s Stadium to take on the San Francisco 49ers on “Monday Night Football” tonight (Nov. 15).
The Rams are looking to keep pace with the Packers, Cardinals and Cowboys atop the NFC. But their offense took a hit with the loss of wide receiver Robert Woods to a torn ACL.
Rams starting quarterback Matthew Stafford still has leading receiver Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, and tight end Tyler Higbee. Stafford will also have the newly acquired Odell Beckham Jr., who will now see his role likely increased with the Woods injury.
The Rams emerged as a late suitor for the talented wide receiver after head coach Sean McVay and OBJ discussed the type of role he could have with the team.
McVay is known around the league as an offensive innovator, and with a strong-armed former No. 1 pick in Stafford at quarterback and a plethora of weapons, it was too much for OBJ to pass up.
Not to mention playing in L.A. with friends Jalen Ramsey and the newly acquired Von Miller.
With a healthy Woods, OBJ would’ve been the slot receiver and seen nothing but single coverage. Now he’s likely moving over to the ‘Z’ receiver position. Having Kupp, OBJ and Jefferson is still a good trio. Just not as good without Woods.
OBJ might have been seen as a luxury when he was signed last Thursday. Now, according to talking head Skip Bayless, he’s a necessity.
"Because of the freakish injury to Robert Woods on Friday, all of a sudden Odell is thrown into the fire on Monday Night Football. For the Rams to be better, OBJ has got to be better than Woods."
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) November 15, 2021
ESPN reported that OBJ might return punts in his Rams debut. His package would be somewhat limited as he won’t have had enough time to master the entire playbook. He was just signed last Thursday.
But now with Woods out, McVay and the Rams will have to really think about how best they want to use OBJ. He’s still a deep threat, and on a roster devoid of more than one receiver with an average depth of target longer than 9 yards, OBJ is valuable.
The Rams have Super Bowl expectations this season. That’s why they traded for Stafford and acquired all of these high-priced talents. OBJ is the latest in what they hope will be a piece that solves that ultimate puzzle.
Expect OBJ to be revitalized in L.A. These past three seasons in Cleveland seemed to have taken a lot of the joy of the game away from him. Now, as an integral part of an imaginative and elite offense, he should shine again.
The Rams are betting on it. They signed the former All-Pro to a one-year, $4.5 million deal that is heavy on team-driven postseason incentives.
• A $500,000 incentive if the Rams win a wild-card game or have a bye, with Beckham being on the team’s active list and playing at least one play.
• A $750,000 incentive if the Rams win a divisional-round playoff game and Beckham is active and plays at least one play in the game.
• A $750,000 incentive if the Rams win the NFC Championship Game and Beckham is active and plays at least one play in the game.
• A $500,000 incentive for being on the Super Bowl roster and another $500,000 if the Rams win the Super Bowl.
OBJ has been a target for the Rams since 2018 when he was made available for a trade by the New York Giants. If all goes well and he produces in a deep Rams playoff run, expect the team to sign him to a long-term deal in the offseason.