THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Wide receiver Van Jefferson proved last year he was a playmaker in the Rams offense. But after two offseason knee surgeries this year, and a difficult rehab that followed the second one, sometimes a player needs a reminder that such contributions are still possible.
That's what Jefferson got with his late 3-yard touchdown catch against the Cardinals on Sunday.
"I would say (it was) maybe kind of emotional," Jefferson said during a video conference Monday. "I mean, it was tough finding out I had to have another knee surgery, knowing that you're going to miss training camp. We all know how training is and how pivotal that is to the process of just a season, and then be missing six to seven games, seeing my teammates out there, me wanting to be out there, it was tough on me. I think it would be tough on any player or just any normal person. They feel like, when you miss time, you're just so eager to get out there, and your mind is just like, 'I gotta find a way to be out there, I gotta do this, I gotta do this.' So for me to get in the endzone, and for it to be against my dad too at the same time, it was great."
Understand this: Jefferson wanted that touchdown to come in a win. Still, it was an important moment for him.
Jefferson capitalized despite only seeing 17 of 60 (28 percent) of the Rams' offensive snaps on Sunday, though he said he knew going into the game he wouldn't be getting his normal workload. Rams head coach Sean McVay has previously said that workload is around 50 snaps.
"It's only so much I can do, but the guys when they're out there – Allen (Robinson II), Ben (Skowronek), Coop(er) (Kupp), and even BP (Brandon Powell) – they do a great job and they play to the end of the whistle," Jefferson said. "Those guys, they're just great guys and I'm excited to be around them. But like I said, that doesn't take away from my competitive spirit and me wanting to be out there and help the team in any way I can."
Jefferson finished with three catches for 27 yards overall in addition to the touchdown. If there was another play that was a close second to the touchdown grab in terms of gaining back confidence, it probably was the 19-yard catch he made over the middle with 6:12 remaining.
If either play mark a return to the form the Rams saw in 2021, it will bode well for their offense.
"I always have confidence in myself, but just to get that back and to be like, 'Alright Van, you've done this before and you're here now, so just keep going,' it was great," Jefferson said.