On his way to becoming an All-American linebacker, Brent Stockstill was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. His family has taken the neurodegenerative disease into account when counseling him on what kind of risks he might face playing sports in college or beyond.
“They Can’t Just Put Him In” is a play by William Shakespeare. It is the fifth act of Hamlet and it takes place in the castle of Elsinore. The scene where this act occurs is when Claudius reveals that he has married Gertrude to his brother, who was killed in battle.
The Los Angeles Rams seem to have an abundance of riches on the field, and they do. The loss to Robert Woods, on the other hand, demonstrates why depth is such an important part of any NFL title drive. The LA Rams may have made the right decision in signing Odell Beckham Jr. at the right time. However, the gifted wideout will not take over for the injured receiver. According to NFL insider Jay Glazer, that duty will go to Ben Skowronek, a seventh-round rookie who is practically unknown.
The Los Angeles Rams’ loss of Robert Woods is terrible.
Sources say @diannaESPN and me that Rams WR Robert Woods tore his ACL during practice Friday, the same day the club signed WR Odell Beckham Jr.
November 13, 2021 — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter)
Robert Woods, the LA Rams’ No. 2 receiver, is enjoying a strong season and is a big reason for the team’s 7-2 start and high-powered attack.
Woods was drafted in the second round by the Buffalo Bills out of USC in 2013, and he joined the Rams in 2017. The 6-foot, 195-pound wideout has more than quadrupled his output since moving to the West Coast, compared to his first four seasons in Buffalo.
Woods has 367 receptions for 4,626 yards and 23 touchdowns in four seasons in Los Angeles. He was on his way to another successful season in 2020. In nine games, he caught 45 passes for 556 yards and four touchdowns.
The acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr., who was already partnered with Offensive Player of the Year favorite Cooper Kupp, would have provided Woods with even more single-coverage chances and maybe even more success.
All of that changed this week when the receiver tore his left ACL.
According to NFL insider Jay Glazer, the club was stunned to learn that what they believed was a toe injury in practice on Friday was really a season-ending knee injury.
The timing of the injury may seem as opportune as it can be with a ready-made replacement on the way with Beckham’s arrival, but Glazer insists that isn’t the case.
Odell Beckham Jr. is not a one-for-one replacement for Woods, according to Jay Glazer.
Odell Beckham Jr. and Ben Skowronek (L-R) | Getty Images/Jason Miller/Getty Images; Getty Images/Bob Levey/Getty Images
Most football fans would expect Odell Beckham Jr. to step right in and take Robert Woods’ place. Jay Glazer, host of the FOX NFL Sunday pregame program, revealed why this isn’t the case:
Here’s how it works. Odell isn’t in the same league as Robert Woods. And I know everyone thinks, “Well, it’s a wide receiver,” but they can’t seem to fit him in. So, for Robert Woods, Ben Skowronek — Ben Skowronek! — will be the starting quarterback. Odell will have a package in there, but how much can he take up in only two days, as Michael [Strahan] pointed out? He will, however, participate.
Robert Woods has been replaced by Jay Glazer on the Los Angeles Rams.
Throughout his career, Beckham has mostly played the X-receiver, or split end. According to Bleacher Report, this position “in most instances lines up opposite the tight end, at the line of scrimmage and farthest away from the ball.”
In the LA Rams offense, Woods is generally the Z-receiver, or flanker. This position is “outside the line of scrimmage and, in most cases, on the tight end’s side.” Presnap motion calls cause him to shift his alignment.”
There are two more reasons why Beckham will not start in place of Woods on Monday night, in addition to positional difficulties. One is that in 2021, Woods played 93 percent of the offensive snaps for the Los Angeles Rams. Beckham hasn’t played much in his first two days with the Rams because he doesn’t know enough about the playbook.
Woods is also an important part of the running game. The former Trojan has an 84.9 pass-blocking grade, according to Pro Football Focus (h/t USA Today). This is the best player on the team. Beckham isn’t ready for that sort of responsibility in the run game (and may never be).
So, if Beckham isn’t available, who is this Ben Skowronek man that will be contacted?
Ben Skowronek is a wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams.
Ben Skowronek, pronounced “skuh-ron-ick,” is a name you’ll need to know tonight after the Rams lost Robert Woods for the rest of 2021.
More on his climb from 7th Rd special teams ace to possible starter can be seen here: https://t.co/R2RZlei6oF
November 15, 2021 — J.B. Long (@JB Long)
Ben Skowronek of the Los Angeles Rams will fill in for Robert Woods against the NFC West opponent San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.
Skowronek, a 24-year-old rookie from Notre Dame, was selected by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Skowronek spent a year as a grad transfer for the Fighting Irish after four years at Northwestern, where he caught 110 passes for 1,417 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Indiana native has 29 catches for 439 yards and five touchdowns in South Bend.
In the last round of the draft, the Rams took a chance on the big-bodied (6-foot-3, 220-pounds) pass-catcher. It will now be up to him to take the field in place of Woods. After just 37 total offensive plays in the NFL, he receives his first start. He’s caught all three of his 30-yard targets in his career. All of them occurred in the team’s Week 8 rout of the Houston Texans.
Starting for one of the Super Bowl favorites is a difficult challenge for anybody, much alone a late-round selection in his tenth game.
The performance of Skowronek on Monday night, as well as how soon Beckham gets more playing time, will have a big impact on how the LA Rams perform the remainder of the season.
Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference provided all stats.
RELATED: Why the Browns are Better Without Odell Beckham Jr.: An Old-School Former Coach ‘Would you be happier if you had eight catches and we lost or three catches and we won?’
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