Rams’ Van Jefferson Injury Provides Tutu Atwell Major Chance

NFL News, Los Angeles Rams, Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell
NFL Analysis Network

The Los Angeles Rams have one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL with Cooper Kupp being joined by free agent Allen Robinson. Kupp cemented himself as one of the top players at the position with his performance last season and Robinson has multiple 1,000-yard seasons under his belt despite some underwhelming quarterback play.

They will receive the most targets from Matthew Stafford, but will also be the main focus of the game plans of opposing defenses. They are going to need other players to step up behind them, especially with how often Sean McVay runs three wide receiver sets.

Los Angeles was one of the most frequent 11 formation teams in the NFL. That means their formations more often than not possess one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers. Adjustments were made throughout the season to work in more 13 personnel, adding a tight end in place of a third wide receiver, but expect them to use three wide receiver sets quite often again.

The top two spots in that lineup are locked down by Kupp and Robinson. Behind them, for the No. 3 spot, there was a training camp battle brewing between Van Jefferson and Tutu Atwell. Both players were second-round picks, with Jefferson being selected in 2020 out of Florida and Atwell in 2021, both No. 57 overall.

Jefferson entered the offseason ahead on the depth chart, but people were excited to see what Atwell could bring to the table. He had received only 10 snaps on offense before injuring his shoulder in November. While a role in the offense wasn’t there, Atwell was a regular member of their special teams’ lineup.

Now, Atwell will have a chance to work his way into the lineup. Jefferson tweaked his knee and will be undergoing surgery on Tuesday. While the procedure is considered minor, Jefferson is still expected to be out for a few weeks and the team is unsure about his availability for the beginning of the season.

McVay said the news was very positive on Jefferson, but the injury is to the same knee that he battled through some injuries toward the end of the 2021 season. That injury was cleaned up earlier in the offseason, as the one he will have the procedure on today was in a different area.

With Van Jefferson sidelined, Tutu Atwell has an opportunity to earn a bigger role heading into the regular season. He will now be running with the starters as the No. 3 receiver and with a strong camp, he could put some distance between himself and Jefferson.

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