Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead gave his greenhorn, first-year head coach Sean McVay a shiny new toy to play with. After the Rams shipped a second-round pick and corner E.J. Gaines to Buffalo for star receiver Sammy Watkins, McVay ruminated on the possibilities for his offense.
“With Sammy, I think clearly you’re getting a special receiver,” McVay said, via the team’s official website. “Obviously, his career when he’s been available, he’s been outstanding in terms of being able to stretch the field vertically, but when the balls in his hands, good things happen. We feel like he’s going to be a good addition to our offense.”
Watkins’ ability to stretch the field will benefit quarterback Jared Goff most. With defenses now forced to send help toward Watkins, the rest of the field should open up for the second-year passer.
“I think it certainly helps him because anytime that you have good playmakers where it makes it more difficult for defensive guys to be able to key in on one player, it certainly loosens up and regulates some of the coverages and I think it’ll be very helpful for our team and especially for our quarterback,” McVay said of how Thursday’s addition will help Goff.
The trade finally gives the Rams a bona fide playmaker at receiver after years of playing with third and fourth fiddles. McVay seems to believe adding Watkins will slot the rest of his receiver corps perfectly into position.
“I think the thing that you really think about is that when you look at some offenses that I’ve been fortunate to be a part of,” McVay said, “you’ve got a handful of good playmakers and that’s where you can truly say, ‘Quarterback, be a good decision maker, distribute the ball and there’s plenty of touches to go around.’ You look at some of the success that Washington’s offense was able to have with some of the playmakers they have and we’re trying to do something similar here.”
The coach continued: “I feel like adding Sammy to the mix with guys like Robert Woods and Tavon Austin — you’re looking at the emergence of Cooper Kupp. Pharoh Cooper’s done a nice job, done some nice things, done a nice job filling in. And then the tight ends continue to do a nice job as far as developing in their roles. And obviously we know what a special back Todd Gurley is.”
Snead added that Austin “definitely has a place” on the team, even after all the additions in 2017 would suggest he’s close to sliding off the depth chart.
After trading a stockpile of draft picks for Goff, Snead doubled down with the Watkins addition. Giving up a second-round pick isn’t the move of a rebuilding team. It’s a move of a man who can feel the leash tightening. Snead rolled the dice hoping Watkins will be the missing piece that opens a restricted offense. McVay is the beneficiary of that dice roll.