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Rams sold Odell Beckham Jr on being a pass-heavy offense, even though they aren’t

OBJ wanted to play with Matthew Stafford, but is he going to get as many targets as he now expects?

Los Angeles Rams v Houston Texans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Believe it or not, the Los Angeles Rams are the modern definition of a balanced offense. Don’t tell Odell Beckham, Jr., though, the latest superstar addition to the Rams roster—he might still think that LA passes the ball a lot.

According to a report by ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Rams were “a bit late” on the Beckham sweepstakes, but then came in with a three-point pitch:

  • Matthew Stafford is better than most quarterbacks in the NFL—and every QB OBJ has ever played with
  • The Rams are a “65% pass” offense
  • Single coverage

Two of those three items are strange, in context, and the issue is definitely not about Matthew Stafford.

The Rams released DeSean Jackson last week by his own request, because there were not enough targets in the offense for him. Jackson was targeted 15 times in seven games. That’s how many targets there were for LA’s number four receiver, after Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Van Jefferson at the position.

And despite being third in passing yards and second in passing touchdowns, Los Angeles is only ranked 14th in pass attempts per game in 2021.

Russini reported that the source said that OBJ was told that the Rams pass it 65 percent of the time, but that would not be true: the Rams have 325 pass attempts and 233 rushing attempts.

That’s 58.2 percent.

At FFToday.com, you can see that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lead the NFL with a 66.2 percent pass/run ratio, and that the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are the only other teams over 65 percent.

The Kansas City Chiefs, also thought to be in on Beckham, throw it 63.3 percent of the time.

You have to scroll down to the middle of the page to find the Rams: 58.2 percent is tied with the Minnesota Vikings for the 14th-highest pass/run ratio in the NFL.

Average.

It’s certainly better than what Beckham would have gotten with the Saints (49.3 percent), Cardinals (49.9 percent), Ravens (51.7 percent), Seahawks (52.9 percent), Patriots (55.5 percent), or Packers (56.4 percent), but it’s not that close to 65 percent either.

The Rams rank 14th in pass attempts and 14th in rushing attempts. Sean McVay has a balanced offense and by 2021 standards, is not “pass heavy” despite having Stafford, Kupp, Woods, Jefferson, and Tyler Higbee, and without having Cam Akers.

Kupp has been targeted 103 times in nine games, while Woods has seen 69 targets, and 19 over the last two weeks. Those two receivers alone could be seeing 20-25 targets in a game, which can take up a lot of Stafford’s time already. And it’s only in losses that we should tend to expect Stafford to cross over 40 pass attempts in a game.

Stafford averages 33 pass attempts in the Rams’ wins this year and has 45 pass attempts per game in LA’s two losses. How Sean McVay reconciles targets for the NFL’s number one receiver this season, plus Woods, plus Jefferson, OBJ, and Higbee, will be interesting.

Darrell Henderson has already seen a career-high 28 targets and is averaging about four per game himself.

The other interesting note is that the Rams sold Beckham on single coverage. This is something that a lot of fans have been hoping to see more of: OBJ in man-to-man coverage to prove that he can still win one-on-one battles and be a dominant force on the outside. This might be true, but according to an anonymous AFC GM last week, one of the reasons that Beckham may not have been attractive on the trade market is that teams are already eager to go man-to-man vs OBJ.

“You can tell by how much man coverage he’s been getting the last couple years that defensive coordinators don’t view him as an elite threat anymore.”

OBJ should get those chances next to Kupp, Woods, Jefferson. How many chances will he get? Are the Rams intending to up their pass/run ratio to 65 percent?

Les Snead has once again given us way more questions than answers as we look ahead to the future.