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Thread: Pettis picking it up

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    Rampingitup is offline Registered User
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    Pettis picking it up

    Pettis Picking It Up

    By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
    Posted 23 hours ago




    Comments:2



    Austin Pettis went in motion, flexed into the backfield behind quarterback Sam Bradford and darted into the right flat as Bradford hit him in stride for a 4-yard gain.
    In most cases, a 4-yard pass doesn’t mean a whole lot but in this case, it was a very positive sign for the Rams rookie receiver.
    The completion came on fourth down and the play was clearly designed to go to Pettis. To put the onus to move the chains on a rookie receiver who only two weeks earlier was a pregame inactive served notice that the Rams confidence in Pettis has grown exponentially in recent weeks.
    “I think Austin’s a little bit of a gamer,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “It was all new to him. You guys know this, I don’t have to tell you, we’re kind of baptism by fire in a lot of areas and we’re going to have to go through some growing pains with some of these young guys. But I do think Austin kind of stepped up there and showed some of the things he did at Boise where he kind of caught and is up the field and he plucks the ball. He’s a good player. I was encouraged by what he did.”
    What Pettis did – four catches for 32 yards – wasn’t anything spectacular and would be no more than a blip on the radar were it not for what he’d been through in his short time with the team.
    After an up and down training camp, Pettis found himself at the bottom of the depth chart among receivers when the regular season began.
    In the season opener against Philadelphia and the following week against the Giants, Pettis wasn’t active.
    An injury to receiver/punt returner Danny Amendola followed by the struggles of fellow rookie wideout Greg Salas created an opening for Pettis to get on the field.
    So Pettis made it a point to take advantage of any opportunity he could get.
    “I just try to make the most out of my opportunities,” Pettis said. “I think the coaches are starting to get a little more confidence in me by letting me play a little more. I am just enjoying it and trying to make the most of it.”
    In two games, Pettis has posted a modest six catches for 40 yards. But he also doesn’t have any drops and has proved to be a sure-handed target for Bradford when he needs to move the chains.

    In fact, of Pettis’ six grabs, five have gone for first downs and four of those have come on third or fourth down.
    While it’s a small sample size, that Pettis appears to be emerging as a key target on third down, is a positive sign for a Rams offense that has needed a reliable target in such situations since Amendola suffered the injury.

    After a difficult start in which Pettis was asked to come in and contribute despite not having a full offseason to learn the offense, he’s starting to get more comfortable in coordinator Josh McDaniels’ scheme.
    “It’s been tough,” Pettis said. “I am feeling a lot more comfortable in this offense. I am getting a lot more confidence as I play and I am able to play a lot faster because I am not thinking as much. That’s something I was waiting to get to and I think I am getting a little taste of it. It’s worked out pretty well.”
    Any perceived slow start has been understandable considering the short turnaround time from the college game to the professional one. Of the players in the top 100 in the league in receptions, only four are rookies and two of those rank right at the bottom of the list.
    The adjustment to the speed of the game, the grind of training camp and the expanded responsibilities of a NFL offense was particularly tough on Pettis.
    I think it was definitely a combination,” Pettis said. “Whenever you get out of college, you have to do a little bit more and that goes to every aspect. There is a lot thrown at us and it was a short amount of time but I think as a rookie, I have picked it up pretty well. It’s up to us to earn the coaches’ confidence and I hope to continue to improve.”
    Making matters more difficult for Pettis was his inability to focus on one position. At various times in the preseason, he worked at both outside receiver positions and in the slot.
    Unlike fellow rookie Salas, who worked exclusively in the slot, Pettis was asked to take on the full load that goes with three positions. That’s a hard enough task for any rookie but to grasp it all in a month is next to impossible.
    “I was told I was going to be a little bit more of a utility guy and be able to play in different spots in case anything happened,” Pettis said. “It’s something I have really focused on. Over these past couple of weeks I have been mainly in the slot but as we go through the weeks I get reps everywhere and try to learn as much as possible in case I get put in a different situation.”
    One situation in which Pettis learned some valuable lessons last week against Washington is his role as the punt returner.
    In that game, Pettis eschewed fair catch calls on three occasions and each time was rewarded with crushing blows from opposing tacklers.
    “It’s not easy just catching the thing when nobody is hitting you a split second after the ball has touched your body,” Spagnuolo said. “Let alone do it like that.”
    Pettis had next to no punt return experience at Boise State and is still feeling his way through the process.
    On Tuesday, Amendola sat down with Pettis and watched film in hopes of showing him the finer points of handling the role.
    “Danny has been a great asset for me being here,” Pettis said. “The kind of guy he is, being able to help me out, has been huge. We talked about punt return too. I didn’t do it in college so it’s kind of a whole new thing for me to get adjusted to the NFL speed. He told me we would sit down and get on some film together and he just kind of gave me some tips and pointers he’s picked up along the way in the return game.”
    Pettis said he has a better understanding of how his decisions in the return game can affect the team as a whole and he knows that it’s best to live to fight another day when there is nothing there.
    That doesn’t mean Pettis plans on being passive and just waving his hand every punt that comes his way.
    Given his opportunity to contribute to the team, Pettis wants to make something happen whenever he can.
    “The coaches are giving me the opportunity to go out there and play,” Pettis said. “I have had a good amount of confidence in myself catching the ball so I figured if I caught the ball I would go out there and try to make some plays. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. But it was definitely a good learning experience.”
    And with each good learning experience he gets, Pettis knows he’ll continue to improve.


  2. #2
    richtree's Avatar
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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    You all know I love scouting and watching the WR position, and the more you look back at this past draft, you realize how weak a class it was....

    that being said, this years WR draft class will be the best since britt, nicks, crabtree, class....

    Pettis really could use the benefit of a vetern WR helping him with routes, training, and toughness.

    I think he really needs a full off-season of conditioning. Pettis could be a good player if this off-season he really hits the weights hard and works on his speed. Even in college Pettis would make many great grabs and the first defender would take him down. No ATC ability.

    I know, we got him for his hands, and that's great...but today's NFL is a fast, furious speed and strength league..

    I think he has that "REGGIE WAYNE" quality about him, and that's who is model should be for success.....but obviously Wayne is stronger and a better runner....

    Pettis ='s Potential with some same 3rd down catches along the way....

    Please get us 3 picks in the top 2 rounds of this years draft -- too much WR talent out there
    Tampa_Ram likes this.

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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    I think with the problems Sam Bradford has had recently, Sam must be pleased to see at least someone step up, in an actual game. The two of them got a little bit of confidence going at the end of the Skins game. MSW reminds me of a puppet trying to catch a ball, so I hope Pettis can be a surprise in this unusual year.?

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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    Pettis got his catches late when the Redskins went into a prevent defense. I wouldn't put too much faith in those particular catches.
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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    One thing really got my attention regarding Austin Pettis last week. This is a guy who when he hears "steps" is not intimidated. Good Lord !! He was absolutely drilled at least twice if not three times during punt returns, and yet he maintained his concentration. If Sam needs a guy to catch over the middle, Pettis seems like a good choice. Danny A. is making a point to "coach him up" on punt returns, and hopefully on his route running as well .. Watching Pettis improve will be a bright spot in what is shaping up to be a long season ...

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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    Pettis got his catches late when the Redskins went into a prevent defense. I wouldn't put too much faith in those particular catches.
    He CAUGHT the ball though. At this point, i'll take it.
    Goldenfleece, BM_Face and RKDfan like this.

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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    Pettis will be practicing in the slot this week and dubbed to start there going forward.

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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    Quote Originally Posted by FestusRam View Post
    He CAUGHT the ball though. At this point, i'll take it.
    Exactly. The fact that a ball touched his hands and didn't fall out is something to be celebrated in this receiving corps. I half expected champagne.

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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    Quote Originally Posted by FestusRam View Post
    He CAUGHT the ball though. At this point, i'll take it.
    I'll take it too, and I'll bet Bradford does as well.

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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    I sure as hell will take it like money found in a restaurant's restrooms!!!

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    Re: Pettis picking it up

    I'm not sure I'd want to touch money found in a restroom...but I agree with the sentiment none the less.

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