Setting expectations for Rams’ wide receivers ..
BY ROGER HENSLEY
Thursday, June 14, 2012
QUESTION: From what you’ve seen and heard so far through OTAs and minicamp, what are your expectations for the Rams receiving corps this season?
There are still a lot of uncertainties, and a lot to be settled on once training camp begins. Most expectations are that when all is said and done rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens, and veteran Danny Amendola, will be the top three receivers. But Steve Smith, the veteran picked up in free agency from Philadelphia (and former New York Giant) came on strong over the final two weeks of the spring practice period and shouldn’t be overlooked. Greg Salas, who was flashing as a rookie before a season-ending injury, had a strong spring. And even Danario Alexander reminded everyone of what he’s capable of with a couple of big catches Wednesday. So the short answer is the unit should be better, but as to whether there’s a true No. 1 or a game-breaker in the group – stay tuned.
What you hope is that the position has been significantly upgraded. From a pure talent standpoint – and if everyone can stay healthy – let’s start with something as simple as depth.
As we stand right now, the Rams will have rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens out there along with Danny Amendola, Danario Alexander, Steve Smith and second-year guys Greg Salas and Austin Pettis. That gives them size (Quick and Alexander), speed (Givens, Smith and Quick), reliability (Amendola and Smith), big-play ability (Quick, Givens, Alexander) and depth (Salas, Smith and Pettis).
From what I have read and seen of late, I think there might be more people catching the West Nile virus in the St. Louis area than people catching passes. The Rams’ receiving corps was awful last season and they have done little, if anything, to improve it. They have some young receivers with potential, and perhaps some will show improvement this season.
But you might have higher expectations for young receivers to surprise if you had a veteran, established quarterback throwing to them. You don’t. You have a young quarterback who, like his receivers, is trying to learn his trade at the NFL level. Moreover, you have a young quarterback who is learning yet another new offense, coming off a disappointing season with his last new offense.
Anyone who would suggest the Rams have a dynamic situation going on with their passing game right now must, indeed, have the West Nile virus or some sort of fever.
Gosh Dan .. no need to get carried away ..
Because of all the hubbub around the draft picks, Brian Quick and Chris Givens, people have forgotten that the team signed Steve Smith. I expect him to have a bigger role in the offense than fans are counting on.
Let’s call me guardedly optimistic. I saw some nice grabs in OTAs, though it’s a world of difference when they put on pads and start slamming into people. There seems to be a reasonable depth of talent there this season, and second-round pick Brian Quick has potential to be a big-play, go-to guy. Let’s face it, there’s no reason to be spending megamillions on Sam Bradford if your receivers are running a lot of patterns that produce short gains. If last year’s draft picks improve and this year’s draft picks excel and “older” guys like Danario Alexander shine, well, that’s a good starting spot.
MIKE CLAIBORNE (Host of “The Sports Hub” on KMOX)
None. What can you actually learn about a team in a reduced workload in shirts, shorts and helmets? There can’t be an aggressive act taken at this time as it would be against the rules. Anyone that tells you how impressive a player looks in his lightweight spring attire that doesn’t have a whistle around his neck is ... well, there is a lot that still needs to be learned. This is a team that had to get out of line and completely start over. From organizing a huddle to learning proper technique. Throw in a lack of talent in so many areas that is proven and you have a wait, hope and see season.
Fortunately Jeff Fischer and his capable coaching staff may be able to stimulate the growth sooner. When you go watch the Rams this season, make sure you have an allotment of patience pills. Then again, the NFL shows mercy for the downtrodden at times. It should be the Rams turn to move up. They are now better armed by what it says on paper. The field test results are still out.
Re: Setting expectations for Rams’ wide receivers ..
Oh boy, here we go again....