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Thread: A pair of great catches
A pair of great catches
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Aug. 05 2007
The coverage couldn't have been much better from cornerback Tye Hill. Hill was
in very good position. The receiver had very little separation.
But at the last instant, wide receiver Drew Bennett stretched out his 6-foot-5
frame and caught the pass. Hill is a good leaper, but he's only 5-10.
Quarterback Marc Bulger put the ball where only Bennett could get it, and the
fade pattern was good for about a 25-yard gain a few days ago during training
camp at Rams Park.
For all the wonderful things done by Rams wide receivers over the past decade,
they never have had someone with Bennett's size, and the capability to make a
catch like that. Every fan who watched that catch against Hill must have had
the same reaction: So this is what Drew Bennett can bring to the table.
"I hope so," Bennett said. "We have the quarterbacks. Both Bulger and Gus
(Frerotte), those guys are so accurate that we can utilize that on the
sidelines. If a DB does have good coverage, they can throw it high and away.
"The throw that I personally really like is the back shoulder up high — where
again, only you can get it. It's been working well in camp, and I hope it works
well all year."
That's the plan, obviously. The Rams wouldn't have signed Bennett to a
six-year, $30 million free agent contract in March if they thought otherwise.
As for McMichael, his signature catch came a few days earlier in camp.
Seemingly smothered by strong safety Corey Chavous in coverage, McMichael
turned just as the ball was arriving to make a tough catch down the middle.
"Randy, he's just a real shifty guy," Bulger said. "You can throw it on his
back shoulder and he's able to make those tough catches. Not only that, he's a
Ernie Conwell had some solid seasons as a receiver. Roland Williams caught six
touchdown passes for the 1999 Super Bowl championship squad. But for the most
part, the position of tight end has been an afterthought in the St. Louis
offense. Other than Troy Drayton's 47 catches for the 1995 Rams, the club
hasn't had a tight end catch more than 38 balls in the 12 seasons the franchise
has been in St. Louis.
McMichael has averaged 57 catches a year in his five NFL seasons, all with
Miami. He's clearly the best pass-catching tight end for the Rams since the
team's move to the Midwest.
Add those two pass-catchers to a mix of skill position players that includes
Pro Bowlers Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Steven Jackson and Bulger, and it's easy
to understand why optimism is high regarding the offense.
"I've got my hopes up real high," Bruce said. "Those guys (Bennett and
McMichael) are experienced guys. They've been in the heat of battle. They can
make plays, and they will help us. They'll make it better for our defense by
putting points on the board."
The key is getting Bennett and McMichael integrated into the offense as quickly
as possible — and once the season starts, spreading the ball around enough to
keep everybody happy. Among them, Holt, Bruce, Jackson, Bennett and McMichael
caught 365 passes last season. That's more receptions than all but three teams
had in the NFL last season.
"When you have so many playmakers, you want to try to get everybody their fair
touches," McMichael said. "If I have 60 (catches), or if I have 30, as long as
we're winning, everything's fine."
It's going to take that type of attitude to make the offense work at a high
level in St. Louis. Bennett, who averaged nearly 62 catches a year over his
past three seasons in Tennessee, is taking a similar approach to his first
season with the Rams.
"I expect to make the offense better," he says, simply. "Obviously, I hope I
catch 20 touchdowns. Who doesn't? But I'm hoping just to complement those two
guys (Holt and Bruce), and to add a new dimension."
Although the playbook is more complex than what Bennett was used to in
Tennessee, the adjustment has been relatively painless.
"It's not hard to adjust to a guy who puts it right in your lap every time you
run a route," Bennett said, referring to Bulger.
Even though he has six NFL seasons and 273 catches on his résumé, Bennett says
he's learning daily from Bruce and Holt. Bennett also likes the variety in the
St. Louis offense, which will have him line up all over the place.
"We're trying to create mismatches," Bennett said.
McMichael has been working extra with Bulger to get their chemistry established.
"What I want Marc to understand is that he can trust me; that I'll be able to
make a play for him," McMichael said. "That's the one thing you've got to do
when you're coming into a passing attack that's as good as the Rams were last
year. You're trying to be another part to that puzzle."
A valuable check-down option over the years, McMichael said he is developing a
comfort level with Bulger.
"Some of the throws that we were just missing, we're starting to make,"
McMichael said. "By the end of camp, we should be hitting on all cylinders."
-08-05-2007 #2smizzhfx Guest
Re: A pair of great catches
I'm expecting big things from this offense, especially in the redzone. It's good to see that these guys are starting to gel and all seem to have great attitudes regarding their amount of touches and high hopes going into this year. Lets hope that the competition for touches becomes enough motivation for the guys to give it their all on each and every play!
-08-07-2007 #3homer1969 Guest
Re: A pair of great catches
The Rams might have the best receivers in football I say
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