While the Los Angeles Rams have had to move on during training camp without Cooper Kupp (tweaked hamstring per head coach Sean McVay on Saturday, August 5), the franchise has witnessed growth from one wideout they were high on — and has become one now mastering the offense.
Per Matthew Stafford, he’s witnessed the emergence of 2021 second rounder Tutu Atwell; to the point Atwell has become more knowledgeable of the scheme and his fit with the Rams.
“Yeah, he’s doing a great job. The best thing that he’s doing now is just his master of the offense,” Stafford said following the Rams’ Saturday evening session at UC Irvine.
New Momentum for Atwell in 3rd NFL Training Camp Session With the Rams
Atwell had been struggling with gaining any kind of momentum and footing with the Rams since his arrival.
His 2021 training camp started with him being on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He then lost the rest of his rookie year with a shoulder injury. He had a slow start to his sophomore NFL campaign before being utilized more in the system.
Now, as a third-year veteran, Atwell is beginning to discover his fit with the Rams — and Stafford has taken notice.
“He knows exactly where he fits in at all three positions at receiver, which is tough to do, and he’s done a really good job of it,” Stafford said. “We’re asking him to do a lot of different things and play some different spots, and he’s not flinching at all.”
Yet, Stafford knew the caliber of wide receiver Atwell was when the Rams drafted him. They envisioned using the 4.3 speed in his 40-yard dash and unleashing it on defenses. But now, Stafford finds this camp session more fun with Atwell, as he’s become more immersed with the scheme and various roles he’s given on the Rams.
“All the physical tools have always been there and I think he’s doing a great job of making plays when he is getting the opportunities and it’s been fun to work with him,” Stafford said.
This bodes well for a potential breakout 2023 for Atwell, especially with the Rams still deciding on who becomes the No. 2 next to Kupp once he’s healthy. Atwell is in a competitive WR room featuring veteran Van Jefferson (who’s entering a contract year), newcomers/past Super Bowl winners Tyler Johnson and Demarcus Robinson and rising rookie Puka Nacua.
Stafford Addresses Preseason
Ram fans, as expected, won’t be seeing Stafford on the field when the Rams open preseason against the L.A. Chargers on Saturday, August 12 at SoFi Stadium.
Then again, Stafford admittedly can’t recall the last time he ever took part in preseason.
“I don’t remember the last time I played. You guys would probably find that easier than I can. I don’t know,” Stafford shared. “I just know that whenever I’m asked to play, I’m going to go play and whenever I’m not, I’m not, and I understand that.”
While he’s taking some needed rest before the regular season grind, he still has a competitive fire in him during the month of August when his team takes the field.
“I think as a competitor you always want to play, but at the same time, I totally understand the choice not to,” Stafford said. “Especially with the amount of experiences I’ve had in this league, I feel like I can get myself ready to play without doing that. And with the addition of all the joint practices that teams are doing, you really get some great work in there while being able to keep in somewhat of a safe environment.”