In theory, veteran receiver Allen Robinson was due to have a big year in 2022. After years of catching a lot of passes from plenty of decidedly non-franchise quarterbacks, Robinson had joined forces with Matthew Stafford and the Rams. With Robert Woods gone and OBJ not yet back and Cooper Kupp presumably attracting plenty of defensive attention, Robinson should be racking up targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns.
Robinson had two catches for seven yards against the 49ers, on a night that saw Kupp catch 14 passes for 122 yards. For the season, Robinson has nine catches for 95 yards and one touchdown.
On Tuesday, coach Sean McVay was asked why the effort to spread the ball around to Robinson hasn’t been working.
“It’s just kind of been a struggle overall,” McVay told reporters. “There’s been a lot of different things. Being able to get receivers the ball is such a product of the offense as a whole. We’re at our best when everybody’s getting involved. You look at the two games that we’ve been able to kind of stay on schedule, it’s been getting different guys involved. Obviously Cooper’s a huge part of it, but whether it be Allen or any of the other eligibles, those are things that we’re continuing to work towards. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We still have a lot of time, but we’ve got to be better for sure.”
So will McVay raises the level of expectations and play calling, specifically for Robinson?
“Probably the latter a little bit,” McVay said. “There’re certain different things coverage-based and what the defense is playing that dictates and determines where a lot of the balls end up going. Tyler [Higbee] and Cooper ended up getting a large amount of targets and you know, Cooper’s always going to be a guy that you want to make sure that you’re cognizant of getting him involved while also spreading it around. So, I think it’s more a product of some of the things that they were doing, but like we said, we’ve got to do a better job of spreading it around and I think it’s a lot easier when we’re able to stay kind of efficient and in some better down and distances or better situations collectively throughout the game for that to be able to unfold in a way that’s reflective of what we ideally want to be.”
It’s surprising, on one hand, that defenses haven’t fully committed to taking Kupp away. Without that security blanket, what would Stafford do? On the other hand, maybe there’s wisdom in letting Kupp catch a bunch of passes, if it makes the Rams easier to otherwise hold in check.