Rams News : Sean McVay Discusses Potential Options In Return Game
Nsimba Webster
Laurence Kesterson-AP Photo

The Los Angeles Rams are confident that there were not too many glaring needs on the roster leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft. Regardless, they do have a rather notable void to fill when it comes to their return game.

The Rams are looking for some significant improvement on special teams in order to regain the advantage in the third phase of the game. As a result, they opted to shake things up by bringing in Joe DeCamillis as their new coordinator while moving previous coordinator John Bonamengo to the role of senior coaching assistant.

Wide receiver Nsimba Webster handled the bulk of return duties during an underwhelming 2020 campaign. However, L.A. has added a few speedsters to the mix in recent years with wide receiver DeSean Jackson and running back Raymond Calais.

McVay is well aware of the team’s need to revamp the return game. He is optimistic that there is more than enough potential options that can step up this season.

McVay: “I think (WR) Nsimba (Webster) did some really nice things. Obviously adding DeSean Jackson, he’s had some experience and history returning punts. But I don’t think you can find enough guys that have the ability to influence and affect the game when the ball is in their hands and certainly those returners – and hopefully if we continue to be as successful as we were and as we’ve been over the last handful of years defensively, that punt return unit and operation is extremely important. We have got guys that are capable, but if there is somebody that provides return value that certainly makes them more enticing. When you look at some of these receivers or guys on the back end that can also provide real punt return and kick return value for Coach DeCamillis and Coach Stukes, it’s definitely something that we take into consideration as well.”

McVay also spoke on which qualities the Rams value the most when it comes to going with either an electrifying playmaker or a sure-handed option at the returner position.

“Well, I think both are really important. You’re looking for guys that can score points, but I think it’s all of those things. It’s ball security, it’s decision making, and then it’s the ability to be able to create, hit those vertical seams, make people miss and get vertical. But the guys that can ring the bell, as Joe DeCamillis would say, are certainly the ones that are the most enticing and the guys that you want, but it’s hard to find them. They’re rare guys. But I think you have to able to No. 1 is the ball security and the decision-making and then the explosiveness and the ability to create after that are the things that you’d love to be able to have, but there’s very few that can actually check all those boxes.”

Webster averaged 21.6 yards on kicks and 7.4 yards on punts last season. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp also averaged 5.6 yards on nine returns when the Rams felt they need a more secure option.

Jackson’s arrival gives them a veteran with proven experience as a playmaker in multiple facets of the game. He could very well be utilized as in a variety of ways by McVay in an attempt to get him the ball.

Calais is also an intriguing option after being picked up off the waiver wire from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He posted a blazing 4.42 40-yard dash time at the 2020 Scouting Combine and will be ready to put it on full display this offseason.