By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
GREEN BAY, Wis. – After a tough night in New York in week 2, it would have been easy for Rams rookie receiver Greg Salas to go into a shell.
Instead, Salas went back to work and battled in practice to regain the coaching staff’s confidence in him. With slot receiver Danny Amendola now officially out for the year, the opportunity came Sunday against the Packers.
And Salas took advantage of his second chance, catching the ball clean and showing nice moves and burst when running after the catch.
“I know he faced a lot of scrutiny for the Monday night game he had but he came back and showed he can play,” fellow wideout Danario Alexander said of Salas’ performance. “I feel like him being a rookie and just coming in camp there’s a lot of things he had to learn. Once he got everything down, he just came out and played fast.”
Salas did play fast. He was targeted 10 times and led the Rams with eight receptions and posted 77 yards in the process.
While the bright lights and big stage of Monday Night Football in his debut as the slot receiver might have been too much for Salas to digest, his bounce back performance against the Packers was every bit as encouraging.
In that game against New York, Salas had a couple of costly drops on passes in the offense and muffed a punt that led to a Giants touchdown. In his first extended action in the NFL, it was far from the debut he’d hoped to provide.
“Definitely,” Salas said. “It was tough. It’s definitely not the way you want to start anything by having drops and a big fumble on a punt return. But you have got to stay mentally tough and know that you’re here for a reason and know you’ll get another shot if you just keep pushing.”
Salas did keep pushing and though he was inactive in the ensuing games against Baltimore and Washington, he began to methodically work his way back into the mix.
The drops were uncharacteristic of Salas, whose numbers at Hawaii would indicate he was one of the most reliable receivers in collegiate history. In taking away the punt return duties, Salas was able to focus solely on understanding the offense and his role in the slot.
Over the bye week, the Rams were able to get in a couple of extra practices, emphasizing fundamentals.
“I think it was,” Salas said. “You have always got to focus on the fundamentals, catching the ball as a receiver. That’s what you do. You catch the ball. The bye week helped recharge, get our minds off of football for a while and then focus up and get back to work.”
When the Rams came back to practice last Monday, the coaching staff informed Salas during a quarterbacks meeting he attended that he would be back up and involved in practice and likely active against the Packers.
During the practice week, Salas was heavily involved in the passing game and quarterback Sam Bradford wasted no time going to him Sunday as he caught three passes in the opening quarter though one was nullified by a holding penalty.
“I felt a little more comfortable,” Salas said. “I was able to get some catches real quick to help get my confidence up and I was getting more comfortable as the game went along.”