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Rams Unsung Hero? WR Van Jefferson 'Proving It'

Ram Digest on FanNation logo Ram Digest on FanNation 1/31/2023 Bri Amaranthus
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Van Jefferson faced major obstacles and capitalized, making him the Rams' "unsung hero.''

If the 2022-23 Los Angeles Rams were a movie, the team lacked a leading man due to injuries that decimated the reigning Super Bowl champions. 

Sequels are almost never as good as the original. 

However, there is a cast of main characters including coach Sean McVay, quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

But as the credits roll on, which player would earn the spotlight as an unsung hero?

NFL.com picked one unsung hero, whose contributions flew under the radar, from all 32 teams. Wide receiver Van Jefferson is the Rams selection:

Injuries decimated the Rams, undercutting their chances of defending their Super Bowl LVI title in 2022. With Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson going down at various points in the season, Ben Skowronek and Jefferson (who missed the first portion of the season with a knee injury of his own) were ultimately left as Los Angeles' top options at receiver. Jefferson capitalized, starting in every game in Weeks 13-18 and consistently producing at a level that was respectable, especially considering how short-handed the Rams' offense was in the final months of the season.

Jefferson's numbers didn't come close to his career-best marks of 2021, but whenever the person playing quarterback for the Rams (with Baker Mayfield being the last of the replacements for injured starter Matthew Stafford) needed a receiver to target, Jefferson usually came through.

A highlight from Jefferson came in the Rams' prime-time win against the Las Vegas Raiders, in which the receiver snagged Baker Mayfield’s 23-yard pass for the game-winning touchdown with just 0:10 seconds left. It was the first game-winner of Jefferson's career. 

“You just want to go out there and just be the best you,” Jefferson said to reporters. “Whether that's showing the coaches or just proving it to yourself. Just going out there and proving myself right. Just know I can go out there and play and I can do the things that I'm capable of doing."

To add to the 'unsung hero' storyline, Jefferson rehabbed a knee surgery that sidelined him for the first seven weeks. Jefferson and Stafford only played 2.5 games together before the receiver had to overcome finding chemistry with three different quarterbacks in the remaining seven games of the season. 

The Rams fell way short of their back-to-back Super Bowl goals, missing the postseason entirely. 

Los Angeles will be watching the Super Bowl from home on Sunday, February 12. 

The Kansas City Chiefs (1.5-point underdogs) will try to pull the upset over the Philadelphia Eagles in Glendale, Arizona to become Super Bowl LVII Champions.

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