Rams want to get a returner who can “drop the ball over the goal line”


The Rams can’t talk about acquiring Matthew Stafford until the trade becomes official at the start of the new league year next month. But they can talk about other issues about the team.

After struggling on special teams in 2020, head coach Sean McVay brought in Joe DeCamillis to improve the unit. The longtime NFL assistant takes over the special teams coordinator position from John Bonamego, who’s been moved to senior coaching assistant.

Johnny Hekker is still regarded as one of the best punters in the league, with Matt Gay stabilizing the kicker position after signing with Los Angeles midseason. Long snapper Jake McQuaide is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. But the return game is a place where the team could use some clear improvement.

Nsimba Webster served as the Rams’ primary returner in 2020, but was at times replaced by Cooper Kupp. In his introductory video conference on Thursday, DeCamillis said the Rams have to “get a guy that can ring the bell and drop the ball over the goal line.”

“We’re still evaluating the return game,” DeCamillis said. “But, I think one of the things that you got to really evaluate as much as anything is the better the blocking schemes are, and the better holes you have to run through, the better the return is going to be. Now, where you get special is when it’s a guy that has Deven Hester type-ability. … But, we’ve got to make sure that we get the holes open at the start and then hopefully we can get the right guy back there and it might be the right guy that we have right now. He’s a young guy and hopefully we can get him up to speed and get him a little better than he was last year.”

Webster averaged 7.4 yards per punt return and 21.7 yards per kick return in 2020. He also committed three fumbles.

While the Rams are counting on Stafford to bring their offense back to its once dynamic level, getting more production out of their return unit will help the offense by setting it up with better field position.