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Thread: Givens gives Rams a deep threat ..

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Givens gives Rams a deep threat ..

    BY JIM THOMAS

    The official ledger for Chris Givens showed only one reception, for 13 yards, against Indianapolis. But the rookie from Wake Forest did pile up some frequent flyer miles in the Rams' preseason opener.

    On three occasions, the Rams threw deep his way. The first resulted in a pass interference flag against safety Jermale Hines (a Rams fifth-round pick in 2011). The 54-yard penalty advanced the ball to the Indy 26 and set up the Rams' only points of the day, on a Greg Zuerlein field goal.

    The second heave — like the first, thrown by backup quarterback Kellen Clemens — barely was beyond Givens' reach and probably would've resulted in a touchdown late in the second quarter.

    And with rookie QB Austin Davis in the ballgame in the third quarter, a third long-range attempt was underthrown. Givens came back for the ball, and should've caught it, but was distracted by a defender flashing in front of him.

    "And he bumped me a little bit," Givens said. "There's no excuse, but it definitely threw my focus off the ball."

    "If he could've got torqued his body a little more, he probably could've come down with it," Rams wide receivers coach Ray Sherman said. "But he made a great effort."

    If nothing else Givens' showed, albeit it in an exhibition setting, that he has the speed to get behind pro cornerbacks.

    "He can get deep," Sherman said. "He's got that kind of speed. When people see that on tape, see that he's able to run like that, then they're going to respect him. It helps everybody else because you know he can do that."

    The Rams have been looking for a dependable deep threat for years. Donnie Avery, a 2008 draft pick now with the Colts, had some moments for St. Louis but wasn't consistent and had trouble staying healthy.

    The hope in drafting Brian Quick in the second round and Givens in the fourth was that they could stretch defenses — each in his own way.

    Without the threat of the big play on the outside, opposing defenses simply load the box with extra defenders. Not only does that give running back Steven Jackson less running room, it also crowds the area where wideout Danny Amendola does some of his best work on short and intermediate routes over the middle.

    Givens obviously can be that deep guy.

    "He can get down the field," coach Jeff Fisher said. "I think he's a little tired right now. He'll get his legs back, and I think he'll probably be even more productive for us."

    Givens and Quick didn't get any work with the starting offense against Indianapolis, but that could change in the next three weeks.

    "They've been getting out here in the one-on-one situations and in some team periods (in practice)," Fisher said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to get them some reps with Sam (Bradford) in preseason games."

    At Wylie (Texas) High School, Givens ran the fourth-fastest time in the 100 meters in the state as a junior (10.44 seconds). He was one of the faster players at the NFL scouting combine last February, with a 4.39 clocking in the 40.

    In between, he was a big-play threat in college at Wake Forest. Givens led the Demon Deacons in receiving yards all three seasons before turning pro after his junior year.

    He's the first Wake Forest player with three receptions of 70 yards or more, and he broke Ricky Proehl's single-season record at Wake with 1,330 receiving yards last season (on 83 catches).

    Givens jokingly said Proehl "was a little salty" about having his record broken. "But we're pretty close, and he was just proud of how hard I worked."

    Givens has transferred that work ethic to the NFL, arriving early and staying late at Rams Park on a regular basis — sometimes with other receivers, sometimes by himself.

    "Just going over the little things, going over my notes from the day before, making sure I prepare for the day ahead of me," Givens said.

    Givens says he wasn't always a good note-taker, but he improved on that in college.

    "It helped out with my film-watching," he said. "That was probably one of the biggest step-ups in my game over my (college) years, is how well I took notes."

    Sherman already has taken notice.

    "He wants to be good," Sherman said. "He asks a lot of questions and he studies. He prepares. He takes a lot of notes in the meeting. He asks questions when we're watching tape."

    Most receivers think they're open on every play, so when asked if he thought a couple of those deep balls in Indy were going to be touchdowns, Givens' reply was almost predictable.

    "I felt like all of them were going to go to the 'house,' " he said. "Me and Kellen, we're going to continue to work on our timing, as well as me and Sam. So it's something that will come with time. Over the next three weeks, we'll get it all down.''


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    Re: Givens gives Rams a deep threat ..

    I'm excited about his potential. With Fisher's offense, a viable deep threat can pay huge dividends. We'll be pulling the safeties up a lot this year, being able to go over the top consistently can open a lot of things up.

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    Re: Givens gives Rams a deep threat ..

    To me the big part of Givens will be drawing the safety out of the box for Jackson. Also gives the Rams a nice option for an audibile if the other team decides to leave the safety in anyway.
    cfin5256 likes this.

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    Re: Givens gives Rams a deep threat ..

    I like the threat that he brings to the table, but he has had his fair share of drops, both in practice and in week 1 preseason. And whats the threat in getting open that far downfield if you're most likely not going to catch it?

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    Re: Givens gives Rams a deep threat ..

    I love guys that have the ability to make defenses think, and make them change what they're doing. Givens could very well be one of those guys.

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