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Rams receivers in flux: Woods tears ACL, Beckham practices | Health

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Just a few hours after the Los Angeles Rams added a playmaking receiver, they misplaced a cornerstone of their NFL-best passing offense.

And they’ve solely bought two days to determine overcome this upheaval earlier than the following recreation in their Super Bowl chase.

Receiver Robert Woods is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee throughout apply, coach Sean McVay confirmed Saturday.

“You’re sick for Robert,” McVay mentioned. “He’s epitomized everything that’s been right about this place. Such a great competitor. Such a tough competitor. It’s so unfortunate.”

McVay mentioned Woods’ noncontact damage occurred when he “put his foot in the ground kind of weird” Friday. Woods felt nicely sufficient to complete apply, however a scan revealed a torn ACL — the primary vital damage of Woods’ nine-year NFL profession.

Earlier Friday, Odell Beckham Jr. reported to the Rams’ coaching advanced and signed his contract after Los Angeles landed him as a free agent. Beckham practiced Saturday on his first full day with the Rams (7-2), and he may play Monday evening at San Francisco.

Beckham solely spoke obliquely about his midseason determination to depart the Cleveland Browns, not addressing the supply of his discontent with that group. With the Rams all in a somber temper after Woods’ damage, Beckham centered as a substitute on his process in Los Angeles, the place he’ll seemingly have an excellent larger function than he may need anticipated.

“It’s been a whirlwind of emotions,” Beckham mentioned. “Sometimes things don’t work out in life, and when you take those leaps of faith, it’s always scary in the moment. … I took a lot of time in the decision-making, and it wasn’t just to build anticipation or nothing. This is my life. I feel like I’ve been through a lot, and I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to play football. I’ve dedicated and sacrificed a lot to be here, and it just happened that this felt right in my heart and my soul.”

Beckham, who tore his ACL final season, and Woods have been simply attending to know one another when the brand new receiver arrived. Woods’ damage solid a pall over Beckham’s pleasure.

“Everything felt right about coming here, except that moment,” Beckham mentioned. “This is a guy who called me on FaceTime. We shared words, and just how excited we were to work together and for me to be able to learn from him. I have no words for it. It was disheartening when I got the call. I know he was the heart and soul of this team. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help. Those are big shoes to fill. My heart goes out to him.”

Los Angeles leads the league in yards passing with new quarterback Matthew Stafford, and Woods is a crucial element of that success alongside NFL receiving chief Cooper Kupp and fellow starter Van Jefferson. Contributing as a receiver, a blocker and an occasional jet-sweep runner, Woods is second on the roster with 45 catches for 556 yards and 4 touchdowns whereas additionally dashing eight occasions for 46 yards and one other TD.

A crew captain, Woods additionally has been a mannequin of sturdiness in his NFL profession, by no means lacking greater than three video games in a season as a result of damage.

McVay joined the Rams in the identical offseason as Woods, Kupp and left deal with Andrew Whitworth. All three gamers have been foundational contributors to the offensive-minded coach’s success.

“Rob Woods is one of the best dudes I’ve met,” mentioned Kupp, who tore the ACL in his left knee in the future shy of precisely three years earlier, an damage that stored him out of the Super Bowl that season.

“He plays hard for the people he loves,” Kupp added. “That’s the way he lives his life. On game days, for three hours he’s Bobby Trees. He’s a whole ‘nother animal. … He’s going to have a great template from me and other people who have been through it, and he’s going to attack it to get back.”

The Rams pursued and signed Beckham earlier this week as a result of they have been already skinny at receiver behind their three starters. DeSean Jackson demanded to depart Los Angeles final month with disappointment in his lack of taking part in time, whilel rookies Tutu Atwell and Jacob Harris are out for the season with knee accidents.

With Woods additionally unavailable to an offense that has run three-receiver units nearly solely, the Rams’ depth chart at receiver now consists of Kupp, Jefferson and Beckham — adopted by rookie Ben Skowronek, who has taken almost all of his 37 offensive snaps in rubbish time this season, or J.J. Koski, who was promoted from the apply squad final week.

That means the Rams will face the 49ers with a 3rd receiver on the sphere who has little or no recreation expertise with Stafford and this offense.

If the prospect worries McVay, he is not saying so.

“You always have to be able to pivot,” McVay mentioned. “You’ve got to have agility and flexibility based on uncertain scenarios. This is certainly one that you didn’t expect, and it happens a little bit later in the week of preparation. Makes it a challenge, but whatever I say is going to be an excuse.”

Woods performed 4 seasons in Buffalo earlier than the Southern California product returned to his hometown with the Rams in 2017. Early final season, Woods agreed to a four-year, $65 million contract extension that begins in 2022.

In 4 1/2 seasons with the Rams, Woods has 367 catches for 4,626 yards and 23 touchdowns whereas additionally dashing for 485 yards and 5 scores.

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