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  • Wide Receivers Short On Numbers, Credentials

    Wide receivers short on numbers, credentials
    By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
    56 minutes ago

    ST. LOUIS (AP)—Donnie Avery(notes) might as well get used to double coverage. He’s only in his second season, but the St. Louis Rams’ other three wide receivers have even thinner resumes.

    Avery, a second-round pick last year, caught 53 passes with three touchdowns and has the speed to make defenses take notice. The rest of the quartet combined for 24 receptions last year and also are young, with none of them having two years’ experience.

    It’s a far cry from the days when quarterback Marc Bulger(notes) had Isaac Bruce(notes) and Torry Holt(notes), both likely future Hall of Famers, zipping downfield.

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo joked that the backup plan for a roster that carries only four wide receivers calls for offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to suit up. He can at least count on a trio of tight ends led by Randy McMichael(notes) as well as running back Steven Jackson for diversity in the opener Sunday at Seattle.

    Spagnuolo pointed out most teams don’t activate more than five wide receivers for games anyway, leaving the Rams only one body short heading into his head coaching debut.

    “Where we’re lucky, where we are fortunate, is we’ve got some versatile tight ends,” Spagnuolo said. “You get two injuries when you have five active, you’re looking at the same thing.”

    The Rams are skimping at wide receiver because of concerns at other positions. They’re also carrying 10 linemen on both sides of the ball, which will force several starters into duty on special teams.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger, who’s expected back from a broken pinkie on his throwing hand, said he’ll have plenty of options in the Rams’ new West Coast offense.

    “I know this time of year there are concerns at different positions where you might have to steal a guy or two, and I think once things get worked out we might add wide receivers,” Bulger said. “But we feel confident with the guys we have now.”

    Jackson holds the franchise record for running back receptions with 90 in 2006. McMichael had 39 catches in 2007, his last full season.

    Avery made light of a question about the lack of depth at wide receiver, pointing to the locker stalls of Derek Stanley(notes), Keenan Burton(notes) and Laurent Robinson(notes) as if he was introducing his teammates.

    “All of us are fast,” Avery said. “All of us are deep threats. If we get the ball in our hands, we can make something happen.”

    Robinson was acquired from the Falcons, general manager Billy Devaney’s old team, after slumping to only five catches in an injury-shortened 2008. He’s had to prove himself before, emerging from Illinois State as a third-round pick in 2007.

    Stanley was a seventh-round pick in 2007 and began last year on the practice squad, making a splash when his first professional catch was an 80-yard touchdown pass against the Cardinals on Nov. 12. He ended up with six receptions before ending the year on injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Burton, a fourth-rounder last year, had 13 catches as a rookie.

    “People are not really expecting much from us,” Burton said. “We’re just going to go out and compete, have fun, and do exactly what’s asked of us. We just have to step up to the challenge.”


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  • #2
    Re: Wide Receivers Short On Numbers, Credentials

    Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Burton, a fourth-rounder last year, had 13 catches as a rookie.

    “People are not really expecting much from us,” Burton said. “We’re just going to go out and compete, have fun, and do exactly what’s asked of us. We just have to step up to the challenge.”


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That is correct I have not heard any experts give this group any hope to be effective. On the BLITZ on espn they were saying none of the WR’s is a # 1 or 2. I hope those guys can prove allot of people wrong.
    :ramlogo:

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Wide Receivers Short On Numbers, Credentials

      Bennett & Kennison (both former #1 wideouts with other teams) had "credentials"...i wouldnt take any of those two back even if their salary was waived against the cap.
      it matters not what any players have done in the past..future wins can only be gained from what they do in the future.

      we are flying under the radar as a team..but it seems that the flyers on our WR corps are even more under the radar..hopefully they will be flying into the end zone on many occasions before the rest of the NFL wakes up and realises they are actually good players afterall.

      Comment

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      • MauiRam
        Rams;Young Wide Receivers Must Grow Up in Hurry ..
        by MauiRam
        BY KATHLEEN NELSON
        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
        Wednesday, Jun. 17 2009
        After three minicamps and a couple of weeks of organized team activities, the
        Rams' future at wide receiver seems entrusted to Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton
        and Laurent Robinson. The trio has garnered the bulk of playing time with the
        first unit since offseason workouts began, but their pro game experience is
        limited.

        Avery and Burton will enter their second seasons with the Rams, Robinson his
        third in the NFL. Their combined statistics through four seasons: 108
        receptions for 1,335 yards and five touchdowns.

        Veteran wide receiver Torry Holt eclipsed their combined career total for
        yardage five times in his 10 years with the Rams, and topped their touchdown
        total eight times. As of March 13, though, Holt no longer was a Ram.

        Even the backups have sparse résumés. With the exception of seven-year veteran
        Tim Carter, who was out of the NFL last season, none of the reserves has more
        than two years in the league, most of it on practice squads. All are newbies in
        the West Coast offense of coach Steve Spagnuolo and coordinator Pat Shurmur.

        Rather than bemoan the lack of experience, Shurmur seems to focus on the
        potential and boundless energy of the young.

        "I like the guys we have," Shurmur said. "I think they're playing hard. They're
        working hard to get open, and they're really working hard at catching the
        football. I think they're all trying to think of themselves as playmakers, and
        that's what you want."

        Though Burton and Robinson stressed their personal responsibility to improve,
        both shied away from accepting a leadership role.

        "My whole focus is to make sure that I don't ever let my teammates down,"
        Burton said. "To lead, you first have to show by example. I think that's
        everybody, whether you're a rookie, a second-year guy or a six-year or 10-year
        veteran. If you come out every day and you're aggressive and you make plays,
        then I think you're a leader. As you gain years in the NFL, then I think you
        can be more vocal."

        Burton and Avery had the luxury of listening for a year to the voice of Holt,
        who will offer pearls of wisdom to the young receivers in Jacksonville this
        season.

        "Torry always told me it's important to take care of yourself, focus on what
        you're doing, understand that this is a business, worry about self first,"
        Burton said. "And then, come out and play hard; don't lose the hunger that you
        had when you were younger."

        Robinson, used primarily as a third receiver in workouts, didn't benefit from
        Holt's wisdom. The Rams acquired...
        -06-17-2009, 08:46 AM
      • evil disco man
        Tar Heel draftee aims to catch on at receiver
        by evil disco man

        MAY 29, 2009 -- Brooks Foster turns up field with the ball during an organized team activity training session at Rams Park in Earth City. (David Carson/P-D)

        By Bill Coats
        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
        06/05/2009

        Far better known for producing top-shelf basketball players than NFL-caliber wide receivers, the University of North Carolina nonetheless provided an impressive bounty of pass-catchers for this year's draft.

        Hakeem Nicks went to the New York Giants in the first round (No. 29 overall), Brandon Tate was selected by New England in the third (No. 83), and Brooks Foster was the Rams' fifth-round pick (No. 160).

        That threesome piled up career totals of 324 receptions, 5,004 and 35 touchdowns for the Tar Heels. The 6-foot-2, 204-pound Foster, who contributed 97 catches for 1,237 yards and six TDs, described himself as the trio's de facto leader. "A lot of the players looked up to me," he said. "We helped each other out."

        Getting the ball thrown his way could be a challenge at times, he acknowledged. "It was tough, but I never worried about getting lost in the shuffle," he said. "We three receivers, we knew how good we were. We had a good time competing, and we just got better off each other."

        With veterans Torry Holt, Drew Bennett, Dane Looker and Dante Hall no longer with the club, the Rams are banking on a gaggle of young wideouts. Second-year pros Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton figure to be the starters, with three-year vet Laurent Robinson in the No. 3 spot.

        The rest of the jobs — the Rams probably will keep six wide receivers — are up for grabs. Foster is the only wideout the team drafted this year.

        Coach Steve Spagnuolo likes Foster's potential. "We need a little bit of time with him, but he's been good," Spagnuolo said.

        WORKING FOR SPOTS

        Although both are expected to land starting jobs, the team's top two draft choices, tackle Jason Smith and linebacker James Laurinaitis, remain with the second units for now.

        "That's probably a philosophy thing," Spagnuolo said. "I guess what I believe in is, you earn anything that you should get. These guys haven't even played in a game yet. We have a lot to find out. We still haven't put the pads on."

        RAM-BLINGS

        Defensive tackle Kirston Pittman (heel) remains sidelined. Wideouts Burton (hamstring) and Derek Stanley (knee) were limited. ... Two more practices are scheduled for today, with minicamp wrapping up with a single workout Saturday morning....
        -06-05-2009, 02:20 PM
      • r8rh8rmike
        Injury Creates Opportunity For Receivers
        by r8rh8rmike
        Injury Creates Opportunity for Receivers
        Monday, August 10, 2009


        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        When Donnie Avery went to bed following the Rams’ Friday night scrimmage, there was plenty of optimism about the continuing development of the team’s receiving corps.

        With Avery leading the way, that group had just posted a strong showing in the scrimmage and had looked to be much deeper than most people thought.

        But as the news broke Sunday afternoon that Avery suffered a fractured fourth metatarsal in his left foot and would miss four to six weeks, the process of developing that depth has become a much more important factor in this year’s preseason and training camp.

        “Somebody else has got to step up in his spot,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I think there are nine (wideouts) left there and they will all certainly get a lot of work when we get to our three receiver sets. It will require them to get a lot of reps so somebody has to step up and take those reps.”

        The loss of Avery for the next month or so is a bit of a blow to a young receiver corps that appeared to be coming into its own in offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s offense. Of course, it’s also a prime opportunity for the aforementioned other receivers to step up and show what they can do.

        For now, the task of stepping into Avery’s role will likely fall to the trio of Keenan Burton, Laurent Robinson and Tim Carter. In seven on seven drills on Monday morning, Spagnuolo used that group in three receiver sets, working Carter into the slot.

        Behind that trio, the Rams also have Derek Stanley, Brooks Foster and Ronald Curry who figure to work their way into the mix on a more regular basis.

        Although the Rams don’t necessarily have a star at the position, that also doesn’t mean the receiving group can’t be productive in this offense.

        “I don’t think you have to have one big star or two big stars,” receivers coach Charlie Baggett said. “I think there are teams in this league that do very well with receivers that are what we call ‘role players’ and I think it is up to the coaches to put them in the right situations depending on what their strengths are and what the offense plays are designed to do and get them in the right spot and a lot of teams win that way. You complement the run with the pass and I think that is the most important thing. It is not having four or five great receivers on one team, it is improving over the years in the NFL you can win without superstar receivers.”

        In his short career, Burton has followed a similar path of Avery. Both were drafted in the 2008 NFL Draft and both created buzz in their first training camps with their ability to make plays down the field.

        While Burton doesn’t possess the speed of Avery, he is a pretty polished route runner and has showed the ability...
        -08-10-2009, 09:13 PM
      • MauiRam
        St. Louis Surprise: Rams' Receivers Are Better Than You Think
        by MauiRam
        St. Louis Surprise: Rams' Receivers Are Better Than You Think by Seth Doria (Analyst)

        In releasing Torry Holt on Mar. 13, St. Louis cast aside not only the face of the franchise, but a seven-time Pro Bowler with 869 career receptions for 12,660 yards and 74 touchdowns.

        And that was just the headliner on the decimation of last year’s receiving corps. Also gone from last year are Drew Bennett, Dante Hall, and Dane Looker.

        In their absence, the Rams now have the following receivers on the roster: Donnie Avery, Travis Brown, Keenan Burton, Jarrett Byers, Brooks Foster, Horace Gant, Nate Jones, Chad Lucas, Laurent Robinson and Derek Stanley.

        Ummmm...Who?

        Let’s take a run down the career bios of these distinguished gentlemen:

        (Size and 40 times as measured at NFL Combine or player’s school pro day. The fact I’m using college highlights and combine measurement gives you an indication of how light the NFL resumes is on these guys.)

        Avery: The first wide receiver selected in the 2008 NFL Draft was one of four rookies last year to finish with 50 or more receptions and 500 or more receiving yards.

        Rookie totals: 15 games with 12 starts, 53 receptions for 674 yards and three touchdowns; 10 rush attempts for 69 yards and a touchdown; Put up 163 yards on six catches at New England, including a 69-yard touchdown; Caught nine balls for 93 yards at San Francisco; Runs a 4.34 40.

        Brown: Second year out of New Mexico; Undrafted out of college; Bounced from Seattle to Cincinnati to Chicago before signing with the Rams; No career stats in the NFL; three-year starter at UNM who was first-team All-Mountain West as a junior and senior; Good size at 6'2", 202 lb, though not great speed with a 4.49 40.

        Burton: Drafted out of Kentucky in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft; Rookie totals: 13 games with one start, 13 receptions for 172 yards and one touchdown; Three rush attempts for eight yards; During final two years at Kentucky, totaled 143 receptions for 1777 yards and 21 touchdowns; At combine, finished first in the vertical jump (38.5) and ran a 4.44 40.

        Byers: Undrafted rookie out of Northeastern State University in Oklahoma (Division II); Selected by the Football Gazette as an All-American return specialist; Finished with school records for receptions in a career (165), receiving yards in a career (2,545) and touchdowns in a career (28); Returned two kick-offs for touchdowns in 2008. Ran a 4.45 40 at the NSU pro day.

        Foster: Drafted in the fifth round out of North Carolina in the 2009 NFL Draft; Never the primary guy at UNC playing behind Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate; Totaled 59 catches for 751 yards and four touchdowns his final two years on campus.

        A strong possession-type receiver who holds the school wide receiver record in the bench press (405 lbs);...
        -05-13-2009, 09:18 AM
      • RamWraith
        Rams say they will get more receivers
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
        03/18/2009

        "We're going to probably incorporate some wishbone this year," Devaney said with a straight face. "You only need one receiver on the field if you're going to run the wishbone. We haven't told (Marc) Bulger that yet."

        But seriously ...

        "We're not kidding anybody," Devaney said. "We need to add some numbers, whether it's a veteran in the next couple weeks. Whether it's through the draft. Whether it's after the draft. We'll be bringing some people in at some point.

        "And just because you recognize a certain position where you need help, we're not going to training camp next week. So we've got time. We don't want to just sign somebody because we have to have somebody. We want to make sure we get the right guys. Nobody's fretting about it at this point."
        Perhaps, but it would be very easy to fret at this point. Rams wide receivers caught 172 passes last season, and 58.1 percent of that reception total — or 100 catches — no longer is on the roster. Gone are Holt (64 catches), Dane Looker (23), Dante Hall (12) and Drew Bennett (one).

        Bennett and Holt were cut; Looker and Hall are unrestricted free agents. It's possible that Looker may be re-signed, but that's far from a sure thing. That leaves only the "Teen Squad" of Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton and Derek Stanley on the roster, plus a bunch of fringe players.

        The only other wide receivers currently under contract are Joel Filani, Travis Brown, Nate Jones and Chad Lucas. Maybe one of those players will emerge from obscurity to stardom. But personnel "miracles" along the lines of Kurt Warner and London Fletcher don't happen every day in the NFL.

        Avery was second on the team a year ago in receptions (53) and reception yards (674) behind Holt, and shared the team lead in touchdown catches (three) with Holt. Wide receivers often make a big jump in their second NFL season, and the Rams are hoping that's the case with Avery and Burton.

        "That goes for all rookies," Devaney said. "There's a big jump at every position, but especially so for wide receivers. There's such a learning curve for those guys coming in. The first-round guys this year — the (Michael) Crabtrees, the (Jeremy) Maclins — there's going to be a learning curve for them.

        "It's a whole different game. Coverages. Reading on the move. Beating jams that they don't see all the time (in college). It's a hard position for a young guy to come in and make a contribution right away."

        Burton must stay healthy after being bothered by knee problems last season. And Stanley must get healthy. He's recovering from end-of-season knee surgery and isn't expected back until the start of training camp at the earliest.

        There are a few 30-somethings remaining...
        -03-18-2009, 04:33 AM
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