Rookie receiver Van Jefferson has grabbed some spotlight in Rams’ two wins
Two games, two big plays.
Rams rookie receiver Van Jefferson made his presence felt in victories over the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, and he appears primed for an expanding role heading into Sunday’s road game against the unbeaten Buffalo Bills.
Jefferson, a second-round draft pick, has easily melded into the receiver rotation with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds. Jefferson has five catches for 76 yards.
“A lot of room for improvement for me — things I need to work on and things I need to get better at,” Jefferson said Thursday during a video conference with reporters. “But it’s been fun so far and I’m getting adjusted to it.”
Jefferson has leaned on Woods, Kupp and Reynolds since the Rams selected him with the 57th pick in the draft.
“All of them are very smart,” Jefferson said. “They know the ins and out of the playbook and they know the coverages before they even happen.”
Rams receiver Robert Woods returns to Buffalo this weekend for the first time since 2016.
Jefferson, 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, is the son of former NFL receiver Shawn Jefferson. Van played in college at Mississippi and Florida and was the 12th receiver chosen in a receiver-deep draft.
But Jefferson has practiced like a veteran and played like an emerging star.
“He’s mature beyond his years for a rookie,” coach Sean McVay said.
Offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell cited Jefferson’s meticulous note-taking during meetings, and his attention to detail during walk-throughs.
“From Day 1,” O’Connell said, “his game has been very polished.”
Quarterback Jared Goff said Jefferson knows where he is supposed to be on the field at all times. It did not take Jefferson long to earn Goff’s trust.
“That’s the No. 1 thing, whenever it’s a quarterback-receiver relationship, is trust — trust and confidence, and I’ve got both of those in him,” Goff said.
Against the Cowboys, Jefferson’s first NFL reception came on a third-down play that gained 31 yards and set up a field goal. After running the play during practice multiple times, Jefferson credited “muscle memory” for helping him execute when called upon.
“When they called the play, I was ‘All right, it’s time to go,’ ” Jefferson said. “I was just hoping I can gain the trust of Jared, and in that situation, I just want to make a play.”
During the third quarter of last Sunday’s victory at Philadelphia, Jefferson caught a third-down pass just short of the first-down marker, but his effort enabled the Rams to go for it on fourth down and maintain momentum during a drive that culminated with a field goal.
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Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who recently signed a five-year, $105-million extension, has provided daily feedback to Jefferson during practices.
“He’s not just going to be good, I think he’s going to be a great player in the NFL,” Ramsey said.
Jefferson welcomes the help.
“Him coming to me during practice, telling me what I need to get better at, that means a lot to me because he doesn’t have to do that,” Jefferson said. “I think he’s one of the best teammates I’ve had. Even though he’s a big-money guy, he’s still talking to me and making sure I can be better at things. ... Every amount of knowledge I can get from him I’m going to take.”
Jefferson will be tested this week against a Bills defense that features star cornerback Tre’Davious White.
Rams safety John Johnson said the rookie is not playing like one.
“He has a pro receiver body, pro receiver speed, hands, all of the above — He checks every box,” Johnson said. “He’s just a complete receiver that, once he gets more games, more reps under his belt, it’s going to be scary.”
The Rams placed offensive lineman Joe Noteboom (calf) on injured reserve. David Edwards will start in his place at left guard. The Rams signed linebacker Natrez Patrick from the practice squad. They also signed offensive lineman Jeremiah Kolone to the practice squad. ... Running back Cam Akers (ribs) remained out of practice Thursday. “He’s coming along maybe a little bit slower than I had expected but he’s making progress. Well see where he’s at,” Friday, McVay said. Running back Malcolm Brown (finger) was a full participant, and cornerback Darious Willams (Achilles) was limited. ... Bills receivers Cole Beasley (hip/thumb) and cornerback Tre’Davious White (shoulder) were full participants, per the Bills’ injury report. Receiver John Brown (foot), linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (shoulder), defensive tackle Ed Oliver (knee) and linebacker Matt Milano (hamstring) were limited.
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