THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Van Jefferson already underwent one knee procedure in the spring. Then the Rams wide receiver experienced "a little tweak" – in the words of head coach Sean McVay – in his knee during training camp, and found out that another would be needed.
It delayed his 2022 season debut until the near-midpoint of it – Week 8 against the 49ers, to be exact – but Jefferson is nonetheless glad to be back.
"It was tough, you know, just knowing I was gonna miss a couple games," Jefferson said Wednesday. "Obviously, as a competitor, you want to be out there and play, but it was tough. But like I said, I'm just blessed to be back on the field and blessed to be able to continue to play."
In Week 8, Jefferson played 31 of 58 (53 percent) of the team's offensive snaps. While a normal workload for Jefferson was anticipated by Rams head coach Sean McVay, McVay had also said they had the depth at wide receiver to monitor that playing time, which was reflected in how the game unfolded. Ben Skowronek saw 36 offensive snaps, and Brandon Powell received three.
Although Jefferson wasn't targeted against the 49ers, his impact while on the field was still noticeable.
"I think it was good to get him out there. I think it was good to get him back," McVay said Monday. "He did a good job of opening up some opportunities where it's a kind of a 1A and 1B. They played some things deep to short, but you could still feel he opened up Cooper (Kupp) on that deep crossing route. It's just good to get him out there. He's worked through a lot to get himself available at this point. He played around 30 snaps. (You) always want to increase that workload, but I think it's more about just getting his feet wet and getting out into real game action. I think we can kind of build on that."
McVay said that "obviously, you want to be able to get him more involved," but there ended up being limited opportunities for Jefferson because of the way the game unfolded. The Rams also wanted to be mindful of Jefferson's workload, according to McVay, "whether it was the 30 to 40 or right around what his normal workload was, which I think was around a little over 50 snaps a game." McVay said they will work up to that 50-snap workload.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford likewise echoed similar sentiments and expressed confidence in Jefferson.
"He did a really nice job of executing things that we asked him to execute," Stafford said. "I figured that was gonna be coming that he didn't get a target. I'll do my best to get him one, I'm sorry about that. But no, it's kind of just how the game went. And I did think when he was out there, he looks really good. He's moving great. All the confidence in the world for him as he's coming back."
Given that was Jefferson's first live game action since the Super Bowl in February, last Sunday's game was positive progress for him. Jefferson said being limited in Wednesday's practice was just precautionary.
"Just getting my legs back underneath me," Jefferson said. "I felt great being out there. I felt good, so like I said, I'm just excited for this week and excited to keep playing."