IRVINE, Calif. – It is never the circumstance a teammate wants to lead to more snaps, when a fellow teammate gets injured.
But that circumstance is exactly what wide receivers Ben Skowronek and Tutu Atwell are facing. In wake of fellow receiver Van Jefferson undergoing minor knee surgery this past Tuesday, both will be getting an extended look and have big opportunities ahead.
"First and foremost, I just feel for Van," Skowronek told theRams.com after Friday's training camp practice. "He's gonna be back. I'm not really not sure what the timetable is, (that's) something that (head coach) Sean (McVay) and (Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) know better than me. But for me, it's just an opportunity. For it to happen in camp and being able to get a lot of reps of the ones, being able to work with (quarterback) Matthew (Stafford) closely and just take every day as an opportunity to get better is big for me."
Draft picks in 2021, Skowronek and Atwell both will be eager to maximize their reps as the Rams determine Jefferson's timetable, which McVay hasn't specified yet because he'll have a better feel for it once Jefferson starts getting into rehab.
Skworonek played in 14 games as a rookie, primarily contributing on special teams but also seeing action on offense that included 11 catches for 133 yards. He also added two catches for 12 yards in the playoffs.
Atwell, meanwhile, played almost exclusively on special teams, with 10 punt returns for 54 yards and five kickoff returns for 87 yards in eight games prior to suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He did not record any offensive stats.
So far in training camp, they're taking advantage of those extra reps they're getting. Atwell haled in a pair of 50-yard touchdowns on Thursday, and Skowronek has turned in multiple competitive catches, including one in traffic via backup quarterback John Wolford on Saturday.
"I can do it all, man, I just have to gain that trust," Atwell said. "I'm working on gaining that trust and showing the coaches that I could do a little bit of everything, so I can have that to show them."
As Skowronek approaches the remainder of camp and the preseason, he's focused on daily improvement while picking the brains of Kupp, Allen Robinson II and Jefferson. Atwell will likely do the same as they wait for Jefferson to return.
"We all one family, man, so it feels sad that Van went down," Atwell said. "I look up to him, watch him, (Cooper) Kupp, and all the guys in front of me. I'm just going to do what I have to do until it's time for him to come back, play my role and just help the team."