Rams breakdowns: Matthew Stafford finds Van Jefferson on 60 yards

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Cooper Kupp develops a true chemistry with quarterback Matthew Stafford, but Kupp is not the only one. Second-year receiver from the University of Florida, selected in the second round, son of a former NFL receiver, Van Jefferson also multiplies connections with Stafford in McVay’s offense.

Jefferson had 19 catches for 220 yards and one touchdown in his rookie regular season and already through eight games of his second season, he has 24 catches for 392 yards and three touchdowns. Against the Chicago Bears, Jefferson hit a 67-yard touchdown and against the Houston Texans, he hit a 68-yard touchdown.

Here are three pointers of Jefferson’s 68-yard catch against the Texans that indicate his abilities and potential.

SPEED

The game has Jefferson alone on the left side, performing a lean post. The defense is in a single high formation with the cornerback lined up on Jefferson with a cushion of about 8-10 yards. This gaze implies that the defense is guarding against a deep path. For the game to be successful at Jefferson, he must pass his defender who has a head start. Jefferson quickly closes and catches up with the defender as Stafford pulls the trigger. Then it’s a ball race and the defender loses.

ITINERARY ROUTE

The cornerback is just the first defenseman to protect Jefferson. As he passes the cornerback, he must then beat or at least avoid the single high safety. The road must be steep enough to both avoid safety and continue uphill to pass behind the defense. Jefferson is able to make a break sharp enough to get the cornerback’s step, with the perfect angle and without losing speed, so he gets behind the two defenders.

THE TRUST OF QUARTERBACK

There isn’t much of a scheme that helps with this game. Safety and the corner both have their eyes on Jefferson almost from the snap. It seems like a real ‘take a hit’ moment with only three routes and two of them going within 15 meters. Jefferson is the only wide receiver to be long and while Stafford has emphasized defenders, this game doesn’t allow any opportunity with such a simple course combination. Simply, Stafford will shoot or check up to Kupp on a shallow cross that was open. Again, before Jefferson is behind defense, Stafford takes his shot and nails it. With an excellent throw showing strength, precision and anticipation of the arms, Stafford and Jefferson connect over 68 yards.

Stafford is proving to be one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league this season. It shows that Jefferson has his confidence and it is increasing.

And now for today’s links:

NEW RAMS:

Los Angeles Rams drop veteran WR DeSean Jackson (ESPN)

Von Miller is helping Los Angeles Rams now and in the long term, says general manager Les Snead (ESPN)

Von Miller acquisition achieves team-building goal for Rams while occupying key defense position (Rams.com)

Tom Brady on Von Miller: “The Rams Become One of the Greatest of All Time” (RamsWire)

Raiders WR Henry Ruggs III arrested for drunk driving causing death (NFL.com)

Chiefs trade OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at Jets for TE Dan Brown (NFL.com)

Green Bay Packers cut Jaylon Smith weeks after signing LB (ESPN)

Miami Dolphins decide not to trade for Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson before deadline (ESPN)


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