The Rams traded for Sammy Watkins after preseason action had already begun, late in the game by NFL terms. Meanwhile, Robert Woods signed with the Rams early in free agency and began working with his new quarterback Jared Goff almost immediately. This difference has shown as Watkins, who was viewed as the Rams consensus top receiver, is now draws significantly less than his current Rams and former Bills teammate.

Now, Woods is down with an injury for a “couple of weeks” per his head coach and the Rams are in the thick of their schedule. With New Orleans coming up on Sunday somebody will need to replicate Woods’ output, and then some.

Enter Sammy Watkins, golden boy and athletic beast. Watkins can fly down the field faster than most receivers you will watch and is strong enough to bully defensive backs when blocking in the run game.

Through ten games this season Watkins has hauled in just 24 passes, scoring four times and tallying just over 400 yards. The Rams young wideout is typically Goff’s go-to guy when throwing taking a shot down the field but Watkins will need to expand his route tree this week. Woods is the Rams key receiver at the intermediate level, this is where Watkins will have to fill the void. Additionally, look for his consistent use in intermediate routes to keep the defense more honest when covering Watkins and potentially open things up downfield.

I am looking for Watkins to run a lot of the digs and out routes that Woods typically runs, as well as flexing all the way out and running some go routes trying to take the top off of the defense as per usual.

With Woods out for the next few weeks, somebody will need to step up and fill the void left behind by absence. The most likely recipient of his targets is Watkins, who is looking to get on track this season at a number one receiver type of level. Hopefully, something good will come from Woods’ absence and Watkins will finally find his way ‘out of the woods’.

– Andrew Kelly is the Managing Editor for and covers the Los Angeles Rams. He also writes national and fantasy content for cover32. Like and follow on

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