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  1. #1
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    St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/18/2010

    The Rams obviously have invested heavily in Sam Bradford. They spent the No. 1 overall pick in the draft on the former University of Oklahoma quarterback, and they'll deposit millions into his bank account some time this summer.

    The team also has spent liberally on potential targets for Bradford, mostly through the draft. Over the past 10 years, the Rams have drafted 11 wide receivers, including fourth-rounder Mardy Gilyard last month.

    But of those 11, only four occupy the current roster. And of the seven others, just two Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald, both 2003 draft choices are still drawing NFL paychecks.

    General manager Billy Devaney has been bombarded with questions about the Rams' receivers, or lack thereof. Some of the queries hit close to home.

    "My brothers in New Jersey, they follow it, and they'd say, 'Aren't you going to sign a receiver?'" Devaney said in December. "And I'm like, 'Give me a break. We have this list (of needs) that's a mile long. We're going to fill as many as we can.'"

    Devaney insisted that despite the Gilyard pick, wide receiver wasn't a major priority in the recent draft.

    "We didn't come into this saying we have to get a receiver," he said. "I guess ... people think we're desperate to take a receiver; we certainly don't feel that way. ... Not even close."

    Still, Bradford is accustomed to working with top-shelf partners. Before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last season, Bradford had thrown to a trio of future NFL receivers at OU. Juaquin Iglesias, Malcolm Kelly and tight end Jermaine Gresham piled up big numbers more than 4,300 receiving yards among them during Bradford's two full seasons running the Sooners' spread attack.

    With the Rams, Bradford is operating in a much different system, the West Coast-style offense that coordinator Pat Shurmur brought from Philadelphia. It requires a highly accurate quarterback, and Bradford fits that bill: He completed 67.6 percent of his passes in college, throwing for 88 touchdowns with just 16 interceptions.

    It also calls for sure-handed receivers who run precise routes and get consistent separation. Whether the Rams also have that component has not been established.

    Two wideouts acquired through the draft have yet to appear in a regular-season game. Gilyard, of course, is a newcomer. Brooks Foster, a fifth-round pick in 2009, missed his entire rookie season after ankle surgery.

    The two others have been nagged with injuries, rendering a thorough evaluation of their potential incomplete. Donnie Avery, a second-rounder in '08, has averaged 50 receptions and 631.5 yards over two seasons, decent production considering the assortment of bumps and bruises that have hindered him at times. Keenan Burton, a fourth-round pick in '08, has just 38 catches for 425 yards. Injuries kept him out of 14 games over his two seasons.

    Only three of the nine other wideouts on the roster have produced anything beyond nominal results. But each of those three has potential.

    Laurent Robinson, acquired in April 2009 in a trade with Atlanta, put together a strong preseason and had 11 catches for 141 yards in the first two games of the regular season. But his promising year ended with a leg injury the next week.

    Rookie Danny Amendola, signed off Philadelphia's practice squad in late September, was a useful addition. A gutsy performer despite his limited size, Amendola caught 43 passes for 326 yards in addition to his punt- and kick-return duties.

    Brandon Gibson, another rookie picked up from the Eagles in late October in a trade for linebacker Will Witherspoon, made a striking first impression: seven catches for 93 yards vs. New Orleans. But he faded over the final seven contests, finishing with 34 receptions for 348 yards

    So, the Rams may have found their quarterback in Bradford. But they can't say, at this point, that they've provided him with commensurate targets for his passes.

    Yet as Devaney noted, it's a young group that should improve with experience. "We think that at the end of the day, our receivers are going to be pretty good," he said. "Last year, there were a lot of guys learning on the fly."


  2. #2
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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    In other news, it has been revealed today the earth revolves around the sun.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    Smart remarks aside,

    I think that we may see our WR corps looking good this year. With the addition of a very good QB, and their continually growing experience, I think we will see a lot of improvement out of them this year.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    Smart remarks aside,

    I think that we may see our WR corps looking good this year. With the addition of a very good QB, and their continually growing experience, I think we will see a lot of improvement out of them this year.
    You're right. I know our WR corp has gone from the envy of the league a few years ago to the butt of numerous jokes today; but I think there's a chance for greatness again.

    No, they will not cause people to forget the Bruce/Holt/Hakim/Proehl days, but if they can stay injury free, there are enough noodles to throw against the wall that several may stick.

    Donnie Avery
    Laurent Robinson
    Brandon Gibson
    Danny Amendola
    Mardy Gilyard
    Keenan Burton
    Brooks Foster

    Not all will hit, of course. I'll bet MOST of those won't hit. However, of those 7 I would bet that two will really take off this year. Maybe it's Avery/Robinson; maybe Avery/Gibson; maybe Gibson/Amendola; maybe Robinson/Gilyard. Who knows?

    But with that much potential, somebody is going to step up.
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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    Someone is going to have to step up this year and become the guy. It'd be great if we could just get by on a couple of #2 or #3 guys, but I don't think we can, especially with virtually nothing at tight end and no second punch behind Jackson. Sadly, when I look at these receivers, I don't see anyone who can step into that #1 role and really terrorize the opposition's secondary. Hopefully someone proves me wrong, but I wouldn't be shocked to see us targeting a receiver in the offseason next year.
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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    I think there is enough talent there for the Rams to have an effective passing game, but I agree that nobody on the list jumps out as the next Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or Reggie Wayne.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    Breaking down the St. Louis Rams wide receivers
    ( St Louis Post Dispatch)
    05/18/2010

    Donnie Avery

    Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 183 Yrs: 2

    Rec.: 100 Yds: 1,263 TDs: 8

    Quick look: Injuries have nagged at first WR drafted (No. 33 overall) in 2008.
    Click here to find out more!


    Danny Amendola

    Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 186 Yrs.: 1

    Rec.: 43 Yds: 326 TDs: 1

    Resume: Has grit and toughness; lacks size and breakaway speed.

    Keenan Burton

    Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 206 Yrs.: 2

    Rec.: 38 Yds.: 425 TDs: 1

    Quick look: Like Avery, injuries have slowed progress of 4th-round pick in '08.

    Brooks Foster

    Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 205 Yrs.: 1

    Rec.: 0 Yds.: 0 TDs: Quick look: 5th-round draft pick sat out rookie year after ankle injury in preseason.

    Brandon Gibson

    Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 210 Yrs.: 1

    Rec.: 34 Yds.: 348 TDs: 1

    Quick look: Impressive in first game (7 catches, 93 yds.); slowed afterward.

    Jordan Kent

    Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 219 Yds.: 2

    Rec.: 1 Yds: 5 TDs: 0

    Quick look: Saw most of his action on special teams; good size and athletic ability.

    Nick Moore

    Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 186 Yrs.: 1

    Rec.: 0 Yds.: 0 TDs: 0

    Quick look: On Vikings' practice squad briefly last year; Rams signed him Feb. 2.

    Cord Parks

    Ht.: 5-10 Wt.: 185 Yrs.: 1

    Rec.: 0 Yds.: 0 TDs: 0

    Quick look: Converted cornerback has speed but still is learning position.

    Laurent Robinson

    Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 197 Yrs.: 3

    Rec.: 55 Yds.: 656 TDs: 2

    Quick look: Looked like legitimate go-to WR until Week 3 leg injury ended season.

    ROOKIES

    Name Ht. Wt. College

    Dominique Curry 6-2 227 California (Pa.)

    Mardy Gilyard 5-11 179 Cincinnati

    Brandon McRae 6-3 208 Mississippi St.

    Roderick Owens 6-0 183 Florida St.

  8. #8
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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    I think there is enough talent there for the Rams to have an effective passing game, but I agree that nobody on the list jumps out as the next Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or Reggie Wayne.
    Agreed, but at this point, I'd be happy with someone who is the next Greg Jennings, Marques Colston, or Steve Smith.

    Maybe Laurent Robinson finds a way to stay healthy and becomes that guy. Maybe Brandon Gibson has a chip on his shoulder after being traded, and becomes that guy. Maybe Donnie Avery makes big strides in year three and becomes that guy.

    To me, it just seems like a lot of maybes. Hopefully we get lucky with one of them, but it seems to be that Robinson aside, we basically went into 2009 with the status quo, hoping someone would emerge, and no one did. I hope 2010 isn't a repeat in that regard.
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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    I look back to the games Laurent Robinson played in during the early part of the season, and I see a guy who has the potential to be a legitimate #1 WR. Will he be a dominate WR? Maybe. But I think Robinson has the speed, size, and talent to be a solid #1.


    Donnie Avery, Brandon Gibson and Keenan Burton should all be improved coming into this year.

    Look for Avery to be a legit deep threat with Sam Bradford throwing to him.


    Mardy Gilyard and Brandon Gibson have the quickness and route running potential to be playmakers in the middle of the field.


    Amendola and Keenan Burton may be the under the radar type receivers who could take advantage of lack of attention they will get.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    I don't think the Rams have a true #1 like we think of as a premier stud but as Nick said, that isn't what's important. If you can run 3 guys out there who run decent routes, have good hands, decent speed and a strong work ethic, we'll be ok. It's my opinion those three will be Gilyard, Burton and either Gibson or Robinson.

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    I don't think the Rams have a true #1 like we think of as a premier stud but as Nick said, that isn't what's important. If you can run 3 guys out there who run decent routes, have good hands, decent speed and a strong work ethic, we'll be ok. It's my opinion those three will be Gilyard, Burton and either Gibson or Robinson.
    Hmm .. no love for Foster? If we are to continue our focus on being a hard nosed running team, finding physical receivers who can block as well as catch, will be an important building block. Physicality is what Spags wants across the board. Foster likely will be harder to jam at the LOS as well. I think Brooks will be given every opportunity to beat out Burton in camp ..

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    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

    Donnie Avery

    Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 183 Yrs: 2

    Rec.: 100 Yds: 1,263 TDs: 8

    Quick look: Injuries have nagged at first WR drafted (No. 33 overall) in 2008.
    Click here to find out more!


    Danny Amendola

    Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 186 Yrs.: 1

    Rec.: 43 Yds: 326 TDs: 1

    Resume: Has grit and toughness; lacks size and breakaway speed.


    Lacks size?
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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