The last three years in L.A., Robert Woods averaged more than 132 targets per season, with Jared Goff under center. Through four games alongside Matthew Stafford, the underrated wideout has seen just 25 targets, catching 15 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
During Sunday's blowout loss to Arizona, Woods caught a garbage-time TD and flipped the ball away. The reaction was viewed as the veteran frustrated by his role in the offense.
That's not how Sean McVay saw it. The Rams coach said Woods was simply frustrated by the offensive struggles last week.
"I'm not worried about Robert Wood's demeanor and disposition," McVay said, per the team's official transcript. "He's a captain. He was frustrated because I think that was a flip of, 'we scored', but that was a frustrating day for all of us. Nobody wants to be in that situation with the standards, the expectations that we have. But if you look at that drive, you talk about a guy that's competing the right way. He made a handful of plays on that drive. Looked at him compete without the ball on the one screen that we threw to Van Jefferson.
"This guy's a stud in every sense of the word. It is important to be able to get a handful of guys involved. That's something that I always want to continue to be intentional about. I think that's one of the benefits that we do have is we've got five eligibles. Want to be able to spread that wealth while also making sure that sometimes I'm calling plays where guys are the primary and the coverage doesn't necessarily dictate where the read goes. So, when Robert's involved, that's a good thing for the Rams offense. That's something that we want to continue to see displayed, but Robert is a leader, he's a captain and he's been doing a great job up to this point. We just need to get him some more opportunities and that starts with me."
Woods' frustration would be understandable. He's been an afterthought as Stafford favors Cooper Kupp, who has generated 46 targets -- 11.5 per game -- in four weeks. Of Woods' four-catch, 48-yards-and-a-score performance in Week 4, 3/30/1 came in garbage time with the Rams trailing 37-13.
It's not unusual for Stafford to zero in on one receiver for stretches of a season. During his time in Detroit, he often fed targets to his favorite wideouts. It's one byproduct of having a laser arm; you feel you can fit the ball into any window at any time. As with anything else, there is good and bad that come with force-feeding one player, as evidenced by Sunday's struggles after the Kupp-Stafford combo dominated for three weeks.
Generally, in Detroit, however, when Stafford had multiple good receivers, the ball eventually spread its way around. Even in Calvin Johnson's heyday, Golden Tate and Nate Burleson still ate plenty well as second-fiddles. It was the years that Detroit didn't have a healthy complement that all the targets went towards Megatron.
Woods remains a good wideout, and eventually, as defenses adjust to take away Kupp, his opportunities will open up.
Those chances could come Thursday night against a Seahawks defense that has struggled to slow opposing pass offenses through the first four weeks of the season, ranking 27th in pass defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders metrics.