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Robert Woods Off to Strong Start in L.A.


Through seven games this season, the Rams have been rolling and are off to their best start since 2003. And while credit for the team's success thus far can be attributed to a wide variety of position groups, it is the receiving corps that has emerged as one of the biggest surprises in Los Angeles.

The unit — which includes Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, Mike Thomas, Pharoh Cooper and Tavon Austin — has transformed into the one of the league's deepest and most versatile groups.

But there is one player in particular who has emerged as the leader of the close-knit receiving room: Los Angeles native and former USC star Robert Woods.

"He's been great," head coach Sean McVay said of Woods. "I've always been a big fan of Robert since going back to the production that he had at USC. He's been everything and more than what we had hoped [for] when we got him in free agency."

The Rams acquired the wideout in early March, when Woods signed a 5-year contract to return home to L.A. Since then, he has become known as one of the leaders on this offense, setting an example both on the field and off.

In seven games, Woods has recorded 27 catches for 381 yards  — enough to lead the team in both receptions and receiving yards. He has also asserted himself as both a dependable and sure-handed receiver.

"[It's] just an offense that spreads the ball around," Woods said of his production. "I think the balance in our offense is helping me and I think the yards are just coming with it. But I think the balance in the spread — how we run this offense and spread it around — is giving me the opportunity to make some big plays."

And while Woods has been making plenty of plays on field, there is still one thing missing from his stat sheet. The receiver has no touchdowns to his name this season.

"It will come, we're putting up a lot of points. [So] as long as we stay up there, I'm not really tripping on the touchdowns," Woods said. "It's about just keeping this team going whether it's on third downs, picking up third downs, or just moving the ball downfield."

"It's not bothering me too much, plus I'm contributing in other ways," he continued with a laugh. "I can set up the other guys, I guess."

And it's that selfless attitude that has caught the attention of both his teammates and coaches.

"He's been a big part of our offense and I think he's got a great way about himself, just the way that he's goes about his daily work, his daily business," McVay said. "I think he's influencing, affecting his teammates in the right way."

Woods said he has tried to "set the tone" for the group since Day 1, making a concentrated effort to "lead by example." But even with all of his success through the first half of the season, the wideout still believes there is plenty to improve upon.

"I have to do a better job of catching the run," he said. "And then I want to take better advantage of creating bigger plays on the ground with the ball in my hand."

If he is able to do that, Woods said he is confident that he and the rest of the offense will continue hitting their stride through the second half of the season.

"We have missed out on a lot of opportunities in the first half of our season and still did well, so just look for us to finally connect on those big plays," Woods said. "I know we're rolling pretty well right now, but I think we still have another gear that we need to hit in the second half of the season."

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