Van Jefferson was the wide receiver tasked with stepping up perhaps the most when it was revealed that All-Pro Cooper Kupp was going to miss significant time for the Los Angeles Rams with a hamstring injury. Sean McVay never put overt pressure on Jefferson to do so, but as the most experienced receiver besides Kupp, it felt as though the responsibility would fall on him.
Instead, rookie wideout Puka Nacua has been the star of the Rams receiving core, setting a record for the most receptions in the first two games of an NFL career. Jefferson, meanwhile, has struggled to find a rhythm, posting just five receptions for 33 yards in his first two games this season.
It was anticipated that 2023 would be the breakout campaign for Jefferson after injuries limited him to nine starts after an 800-yard 2021 campaign. And even though it has not looked that way so far, McVay remains unconcerned about Jefferson in the long run, via The Coach McVay Show:
“We’re talking about two games here. “It’s crazy that because those two guys have done so well that it means somebody else isn’t, but that’s not how football works. You’ve got 17 games that you’re guaranteed and so we’re fortunate to have three guys. I thought Benny Skow did a nice job. I thought Demarcus came in and did a good job. You get Cooper back. But the bottom line is this: We love Van Jefferson. He’s got a body of work. I’m not going to allow two games to dictate a certain feeling. I think we can help get him into the flow of games and I know he’s capable of playing at high level. In some instances, that’s been reflective and in some instances, I know he can play better.”
It’s hard to make any determinations in the National Football League after two games. Teams are still figuring out exactly who they are and what they have, especially teams like the Rams who have hit the reset button with a large chunk of their previous rosters.
Jefferson was a strong No. 3 option for the Rams in 2021, and that talent still exists within the fourth-year pro. Now that he’s in a larger role, he’ll need to find a way to get into a rhythm without any star receivers on the field.
The next few games are crucial for Jefferson to assert his place in the offense, as Nacua and running back Kyren Williams have certainly earned their share moving forward.
Rams trade Cam Akers to Vikings
After a long saga that has seen the Rams attempt to trade or bench Cam Akers multiple times, they have finally put an end to the drama by trading the young running back to the Minnesota Vikings. The two teams will swap 2026 draft picks as part of the agreement.