Quick to the finish: Rams WR makes his case ..
By LOUIE KORAC For The Telegraph
Posted: Monday, September 2, 2013 8:47 pm
ST. LOUIS — Those looking to make names — and cases — for themselves in the St. Louis Rams’ final tune-up before the regular season begins had one final opportunity to impress coaches.
Especially receiver Brian Quick, who has been an enigma since being drafted in the second round in 2012 out of Appalachian State.
Running backs Zac Stacy and Benjamin Cunningham along with Isaiah Pead made their cases at running back, with starter Daryl Richardson sitting this one out.
But at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Quick has the body to be a dominant receiver. He has huge hands where a football could just cling to. Quick should be able to win any jump ball, win all battles on fade routes, or any route for that matter.
Channeling his better play is what’s been the battle early in Quick’s career.
Quick got off to an inauspicious start for the Rams on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens’ third- and fourth-stringers. He fumbled the ball on his first reception. But he was targeted six times and caught five balls for 60 yards, including a pair of impressive catches along the sideline in the Rams’ 24-21 victory over the defending Super Bowl champs.
Quick was in there one final time to showcase and make his case to be in that select receiving group coach Jeff Fisher will implement as the season progresses.
“This was the opportunity for me to show everybody that I took a step forward and I can be a great player,” Quick said. “I’m ready. Everybody can see that I’m going and I’m getting better.
“I feel like I did OK (Thursday). There’s a lot of different things I know I could have done better, but there’s always opportunities for me to get better. As long as I can continue to do what I need to do, I feel like I’m going to be in there with the one’s or wherever.”
The Rams, who finished 1-3 in the preseason and will open the regular season here Sunday at Edward Jones Dome against the Arizona Cardinals. They can benefit from utilizing Quick in their offense.
Giving quarterback Sam Bradford another weapon at his disposal can only bode well for an offense that might have to rely mightily on a passing game with a questionable running game, sans Steven Jackson for the first time since 2003.
“For me, it’s just learning,” Quick said. “I have that athleticism. We all do, but playing on this level, you’ve got to be smart. You can’t make mental errors. I’m just trying to minimize my mental errors and to continue to grow.”
Drafting the speedy and shifty Tavon Austin in the first round in 2013, signing tight end Jared Cook to bolster the offense in the middle of the field and the deep threat that Chris Givens provides along with Austin Pettis, adding Quick to the mix in a multi-faceted way could bode well.
The Rams are going to need all those weapons, since they will play the fourth-toughest schedule this season, as their opponents’ combined record was 137-117-2 last season.
“Big plays,” said Austin, who finished with three catches for 26 yards Thursday. “We believe in each other. We definitely feed off each other and make some big plays for this team.”
Bradford, who was a spectator on the sidelines Thursday night, is licking his chops waiting to utilize those weapons when the real games start.
“Obviously, we are much-improved,” Bradford said. “At the skill position group, just in the sense that we’ve got a lot more speed. I think there’s still a lot of things that we need to clean up as far as details go. We’re young in that group, and even Cook, it’s his first year in the system. I think we’ve done a lot of good things in the preseason, but in order for us to take that next step, there’s still some things that we can get cleaned up going into next week.
“… I thought we had a really good training camp. I thought we did some really good things during the preseason when we were on the field. Now it’s full steam ahead getting ready for Arizona next week.”
Quick only caught 11 balls for 156 yards in 15 games last season. He did average 14.2 yards per reception, an eye-popping number. But he needs to continue to develop in the system and even got a nice post-game speech from former Rams receiving great Torry Holt.
“He was just telling me, ‘Just continue to grow. Continue to build off what you’re doing,” Quick said. “That helped me. It was a great little speech he gave me after the game."