Ram receiver Robert Woods has 15 catches in four games. When he caught a garbage-time touchdown pass on Sunday against the Cardinals, he flipped the ball away in apparent disgust.
On Monday, coach Sean McVay was asked whether he believes Woods is unhappy with the number of throws coming his way.
“I’m not worried about Robert Woods’s demeanor and disposition,” McVay said. “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. Look 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. It is important to be able to get a handful of guys involved. 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.”
Woods has been targeted 25 times, an average of 6.25 per game. Cooper Kupp, in contrast, has had 46 targets this season, which works out to 11.5 per game.
Although the best offenses deliver the ball to the open man, there are indeed ways to deliberately get the ball in the hands of specific players. As long as the team is winning, it’s not an issue. Frustrations can surface when a reduced workload intersects with defeat.
On a short week as the Rams prepare to face the Seahawks, it will be interesting to see whether McVay gets Woods more involved. With the Rams having a lot of highly-paid players and with Woods’s contract making his salary and cap charge susceptible to closer scrutiny come 2022, reduced production could put the 29-year-old wideout at enhanced risk of being identified as a luxury the team can’t afford at his current number.
For Woods, a $10 million base salary for 2022 becomes fully guaranteed in March. In the ruthless word of NFL roster management, he’ll eventually be thinking about whether the Rams will make the tough but inevitable decision to move on. There’s a chance he’s already thinking about it now, at least a little bit.