It is hard to imagine that this Los Angeles Rams team is missing a key contributor on the offensive side of the ball. The Rams offense put up 35 points against a top-five defensive unit last week. This week, as the Rams face division rival Seattle Seahawks, wide receiver Robert Woods makes his return.
Woods suffered a shoulder sprain against the Minnesota Vikings in a game where he saw a season-high eight receptions. He has been a pleasant surprise on the Rams offensive unit this year. Woods quickly became one of Jared Goff’s favorite targets. In fact, before his injury, he was leading the offensive unit in targets, averaging seven per game. He led the team in receptions at 47, and yards at 703. That is a noticeable impact on offense.
Woods’ impact on game day may be big, but less often seen, is the impact on the practice field.
“On the field, you obviously have the numbers and all that stuff,” Goff said. “His production has been great. But I think off the field, what his presence is at practice is something that people don’t usually see as much. So that’s kind of maybe the bigger part of it.”
The way Robert Woods competes, elevates the rest of the receiving group. Of course, in his absence, the Rams have not skipped a beat. Perhaps because of the way Woods has elevated the play of the surrounding cast. Since his absence, Goff has had games passing for 354 yards, 220 yards, and 200 yards, with Cooper Kupp and Todd Gurley leading in receptions during that stretch.
As the Rams face the Seahawks, Woods could have a substantial impact. The Seahawks have injuries to key defensive players, most notably star defensive back Richard Sherman. With many targets to choose from, and once again including Woods, the Rams should be able to create some mismatches and gain advantage through the air. The last time these two teams met up, Goff passed for 288 yards and he hit nine different targets. Five of those receptions were to Woods for an average of 13.2 yards per reception.
Woods has been eager to make a comeback, and he has pushed for it to be this week.
“I’m good. I’m ready for Sunday,” Woods said on Wednesday. “I’ve been waiting on this.”
Shoulder injuries can be a major concern for receivers, range of motion and explosiveness are a requirement. He was limited in practice as recently as Wednesday. Woods has addressed this concern as well, saying, “I feel like the movement, everything is there. Everything’s good and ready, so I feel like there’s no [sense of] not trusting it, I’ve been in practice a little bit last week, and then starting to go this week — I’m confident, very confident in it.”
The wide receiver corps has been a strength for the Rams with targets like Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp, and even Todd Gurley has been a dependable pass target out of the backfield. It is safe to say that the addition of Woods will have a notable impact, giving Goff another dependable target. Woods will look to pick up where he left off. Even if he doesn’t exactly bounce back, it is clear by his teammate’s elevated play, his impact will be felt on game day.