Los Angeles Rams: Will Odell Beckham Jr. Be Hit or Miss for Rams Offense?

by Alex Perl
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The opportunity to add world-class talent at such a late phase in the season comes rarely. Yet, this is exactly what the Los Angeles Rams were able to  pull off with the signing of former Pro-Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

The initials O-B-J used to drive fear into opponents. It was a name synonymous with even casual football fans. However, the 29-year-old wide receiver is now entering his third team. Hopefully he’s looking to quell chatter that his best days are behind him.

The tenure of Odell Beckham Jr. as a Cleveland Brown is very well documented.  Injury problems, lackluster play, and failed chemistry between him and quarterback Baker Mayfield ruined what seemed to be a perfect marriage. Pick your poison when it comes to the narrative surrounding the drama on OBJ. All that matters is that he has moved on and is in a completely different situation.

The Los Angeles Rams have one of the best offenses in all of football, and objectively, the best wide receiver this season in Cooper Kupp. Add in Robert Woods, a do-it-all receiver who gives quarterback Matthew Stafford a true one-two combo. merging second-year receiver Van Jefferson also adds into the mix.

From initial glance, it would seem receiver is something the Rams surely did not need improving. Nevertheless, you can never have too many weapons. That’s especially the case when looking around the rest of the NFC. The Arizona Cardinals have a quad of DeAndre Hopkins, AJ Green, Rondale Moore, and Zach Ertz. In Tampa Bay, Tom Brady throws to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski.

The Rams offense relies heavily on the pass, which has become a routine seen around the league. That’s not to downplay the importance of running backs Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel, but the Rams are 7-2 primarily because of the potent passing offense.

With an offensive guru at the helm in Sean McVay, you can never undermine the importance of adding talent like OBJ to the roster. McVay is one of the premier offensive minds in all of the league, and his ability to pick apart defenses and bring out the best in his players has not been lost.

McVay not only played a huge role in the development of Kupp, but he turned Woods into a reliable star virtually overnight. Obtaining a talent like Odell Beckham Jr. surely has McVay salivating. After all, he’s been wanting Beckham since 2018 when he was traded from the Giant. A mere hours before the signing was announced, McVay was pressed on the signing of the free agent receiver and his excitement was obvious.

McVay has already detailed how he will get Beckham touches in this offense. That’s importing considering Beckham Jr. is a wide receiver that has typically demanded attention from his quarterbacks.

It would be difficult for most coaches to envision adding another receiver to an already loaded group. However, when it comes to a coach like Sean McVay, it’s hard not to think that he will deliver on his promise.

DeSean Jackson signed with the Rams this offseason in what was lauded as a spectacular move for both parties involved. Los Angeles would be adding a hometown veteran receiver with experience. Meanwhile, Jackson would add a much-needed vertical element to the offense.

The experiment didn’t go well despite a few big plays from Jackson. He saw very limited targets, and he demanded a release looking for more playing time elsewhere. This left a huge hole at receiver for the Rams. With the injuries to TuTu Atwell and Jacob Harris combined with the release of Jackson, the Rams were thin at the position. Ben Skowronek and JJ Koski remained wide receivers four and five.

For a team looking to make a serious run at the Super Bowl, they needed to add somebody. They also put in a claim for Josh Reynolds before the Lions claimed him on waivers. Reynolds’ release  from the Tennessee Titans was expected by many to lead to a reunion of sorts. However the waiver claim did not lie in the favor of the Rams and he joined the Lions in a different type of reunion with former Rams quarterback Jared Goff.

Enter the signing of OBJ.

No one can truly predict how this experiment will go down. Many believed the acquisition of Beckham Jr. in Cleveland would even lead to a Super Bowl appearance. Yet, that experiment failed miserably. What we are seeing here is a talented receiver in the prime of his career, now coached by quite possibly the greatest offensive mind he has ever had at his disposal.

The player who was taken one pick before Aaron Donald now joins Donald’s team. He has the ability to stretch the field and be a viable threat on slants and crossers over the middle. His route running is among the best in the league. As talented and versatile as Robert Woods has been, he pales in comparison to the ability that OBJ has in his arsenal.

Not to knock the play of Browns quarterback Mayfield, but Matthew Stafford is a much better quarterback option. Stafford had the unfortunate circumstance of playing his entire career for the Detroit Lions, a team that never got it together. A change of scenery has shown that Stafford is indeed an elite quarterback. This is something Beckham Jr. has never had even when he played with an aging Eli Manning.

All signs point to this experiment with McVay being a success. However, the Rams aren’t in it with a lot of risk. If Beckham works out, the Rams got a potential top-10 wide receiver. If it doesn’t, Beckham Jr. becomes a journeyman wide receiver and will move on to his third team in three years.

OBJ surely raises the chances of the Rams returning to the Super Bowl. With the Super Bowl being played at Sofi Stadium, it seems the stars may just have aligned. This could be the revitalization of both the Los Angeles Rams and Odell Beckham Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

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