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No Excuses For Rams' Lack Of Receivers

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  • No Excuses For Rams' Lack Of Receivers

    No excuse for Rams' lack of receivers

    By Jeff Gordon

    Danny Amendola has been quite a find for the Rams. He has enlivened the team’s kick return game and added a receiving spark as well.

    The kid is a playmaker. When he gets the ball in space, the former Texas Tech star is dangerous.

    Adding him to replace the unproductive Derek Stanley was a nice in-season upgrade by general manager Billy Devaney.

    Now the Rams need to find three or four additional candidates ASAP to juice up their moribund offense. Devaney should issue an all-points bulletin for receivers with wheels.

    Who knows, maybe Amendola has a friend willing to come along for the ride.

    Devaney should summon 10 guys for a tryout this week. Or 50. Or 1,050 -– whatever it takes to find somebody capable of stretching defenses and making opponents BACK OFF THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE and defend more real estate.

    Once speedy receiver Donnie Avery went down Sunday, the Rams offense went into a shell. After Avery’s demise, quarterback Marc Bulger seldom tested Jacksonville’s wretched pass defense with downfield throws.

    The Jaguars stacked the line of scrimmage to contain running back Steven Jackson. A series of three-and-out offensive series ensued.

    The Rams defense spent most of the second half on the field. Predictably, it wore out. Come overtime, there was nothing left -– especially after cornerback Ron Bartell and linebacker Will Witherspoon got hurt on the same play.

    Now the team must upgrade the offense so it can finally win a football game. As we saw Sunday, this team, however depleted by injuries, could still win games this season. It doesn't have to finish 0-16.

    The Rams came out with a good offensive game plan at Jacksonville and immediately marched for a TD. Bulger got the ball out quickly and moved the team in his first start since suffering his shoulder injury.

    He threw one TD pass to Avery and would have had another, but he hung a post-pattern throw just enough to get picked off.

    Had Avery stayed in the game, Bulger would have taken some additional shots down the field. Had Avery stayed in the game, the Rams likely would have won.

    But when Donnie went down, all Bulger had to throw to was the pint-sized Amendola, possession receiver Keenan Burton and fill-in Tim Carter -– just back with the team after getting cut in the summer.

    There is no excuse for having so few receiving options on this team. While this team has maintained an army of defensive linemen, it has remained woefully short at receiver.

    Bad luck explains some of it. Losing Laurent Robinson and Brooks Foster to season-ending injuries hurt for sure.

    But there is still no excuse for getting caught short at this position. Finding replacement receivers isn’t like trying to find a replacement quarterback. Supply exceeds demand.

    Another potential Rams victory slipped away because of their limitations at this position. How many more times will this happen this season?

    Given the extensive injury histories of Avery and Burton, Devaney must use all means necessary to shore up the receiver corps. If he has to spend a middle-round pick to add a viable wideout before the deadline, go ahead and do it.

    If he has to buy time on ESPN to make his appeal to unemployed receivers everywhere, then that would be money well spent.

    The newcomers wouldn’t have to learn the whole playbook to help. They would just have to learn the routes that EXTEND MORE THAN EIGHT YARDS DOWNFIELD to help.

    There can’t be many of those routes in offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s playbook, judging from what we’ve seen so far this season. Any newcomers could skip ahead to the good parts.

  • #2
    Re: No Excuses For Rams' Lack Of Receivers

    I'll try out!
    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams


    • #3
      Re: No Excuses For Rams' Lack Of Receivers

      Trade the Bills someone for TO, I heard he's being shopped. Then we could throw him the ball 60 times a game and he would finally be happy. LOL!


      • #4
        Re: No Excuses For Rams' Lack Of Receivers

        I can bench 225, does that count?


        • #5
          Re: No Excuses For Rams' Lack Of Receivers

          i have pretty good hands..and i know the rams playbook very well..i use them alot on madden so i know most the plays hahah lol jk jk


          • #6
            Re: No Excuses For Rams' Lack Of Receivers

            There is simply no excuse for the Rams' lack of WRs!

            Losing Laurent Robinson and Brooks Foster to season-ending injuries hurt for sure.
            Well... I mean, except for that one.

            In all seriousness, I do think the Rams probably should have done more to upgrade the position, but its much easier said than done. I still agree with the decision to take Smith and Laurinaitis. Perhaps the Rams should have gone WR in Round 3, but I don't know that anyone left at that point would be making an impact at this point. As far as the FA market, the pickings were pretty slim. Other options... T.O.? Braylon Edwards? No thanks.


            Related Topics


            • r8rh8rmike
              The Watercooler: Do The Rams Have Future No. 1 WR On Roster?
              by r8rh8rmike
              12.08.2009 1:23 pm
              Do Rams have future No. 1 WR on roster?
              By Roger Hensley

              THE WATERCOOLER

              QUESTION: Do you see any of the current Rams wide receivers developing into a No. 1 guy someday, or is this corps comprised of guys more suited for No. 2 or No. 3 roles?

              JIM THOMAS
              Don’t see it. Donnie Avery shows flashes, but can’t stay healthy, and needs to be more consistent catching the ball and getting open. Brandon Gibson’s production has dipped markedly since his first-game splash. Danny Amendola isn’t big enough to be anything more than a slot receiver in the NFL. Ruvell Martin? He can’t get on the field. Laurent Robinson — remember him? — looked like he was on pace for a big year before suffering his season-ending ankle and leg injuries in Week 3.

              BERNIE MIKLASZ
              They’re all secondary receivers; 3s. I suppose Avery has a shot at being a legit No. 2, but his lack of durability makes him more suitable for the slot. And there is nothing wrong with that; Avery could be a dynamic performer as a slot receiver. With the changes in the NFL passing game, there’s more of a premium on big, physical receivers and the Rams don’t have one. This is the league’s worst group of receivers, and it won’t be fixed until the Rams either (A) sign a top free agent wideout; (B) hit the jackpot by drafting a legit No. 1.

              JEFF GORDON
              We’ve seen Isaac Bruce. We’ve seen Torry Holt. We know what a No. 1 receiver looks like here in St. Louis. There isn’t a real No. 1 in this group. Perhaps Brandon Gibson can be a No. 2 someday. Perhaps Donnie Avery can use his speed to become a nice slot receiver. Maybe the injured Laurent Robinson can come back as a possession guy. Maybe Danny Amendola can be an extra slot guy to go with his kick returning. But that’s it. (All of this assumes that the Rams will someday run a legitimate passing game. In this timid scheme, the Rams have plenty.)

              KEVIN WHEELER (Host of “Sports Open Line” on KMOX)
              No, none of these guys are No. 1’s. Not even close. Avery and Robinson strike me as being the same player. They’re both speed guys who can stretch the field but neither has the size or hands to be a No. 1. Gibson looks like he could be a decent possession receiver as a No. 3 or No 4. They need someone who combines the elements of size, speed and hands and none of the players on the current roster fit that bill.
              -12-08-2009, 12:34 PM
            • RamWraith
              The Teen Squad:
              by RamWraith
              Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/19/2008

              Where it takes the team Sunday, much less in the weeks, months, and years to come is anybody's guess. But the future begins at noon in the Edward Jones Dome for the Rams' wide receiver corps.

              Welcome to Generation Next: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, and Derek Stanley. They will join forces with 10-year vet Torry Holt as the Rams' top four wideouts against the Dallas Cowboys.

              Actually, scratch that Generation Next thing. Stanley has come up with his own nickname for the young trio: the Teen Squad.

              Granted, they're not teen-agers. Burton and Stanley are 23 years old; Avery is 24. The nickname comes from their jersey numbers: Burton wears No. 14; Avery, No. 17; and Stanley, No. 19.

              All three will be in uniform for the first time together Sunday in a regular season game.

              "Those young guys, they bring speed, they bring energy," coach Jim Haslett said. "Keenan, it's going to be nice to get him back, and I think 17 (Avery) gets better and better every day he's out there."

              As for Stanley, after being limited to special teams duty against Washington, Haslett says he'll see action at wide receiver against Dallas. Stanley was promoted from the practice squad Oct. 10.

              The youth movement at wide receiver is just the latest adjustment by Haslett in an effort to coax more production out of his 31st-ranked offense and more victories out of his 1-4 squad.

              Avery is the only member of the Teen Squad to see any appreciable duty this season. Promoted to the starting lineup two games ago, he scored a 37-yard touchdown on a running play against Buffalo on Sept. 28, and hauled in a 43-yard reception at Washington. The dramatic catch against the Redskins set up Josh Brown's 49-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Rams their first victory of the season, 19-17.

              Confident yet humble, Avery brushed aside the suggestion that his time has arrived as an NFL receiver.

              "I'm not saying that," he said. "I feel like it's our time as a team."

              Nonetheless, Avery's life already is changing, thanks to nothing more than those two big plays. For one, there's more interviews. For another, he's starting to get recognized in St. Charles — where he lives — whether it's on a trip to the mall or when the pizza man makes a delivery.

              "They tell me great catch, and stuff like that," Avery said.

              Lurking beneath the humility and the short answers, Avery can flash some personality and a little humor. For example, when asked what type of pizza he orders, Avery replied: "I get the 5-5-5. It's all about the discount."

              Avery, listed at 5-feet-11 and 184 pounds, eats three pizzas?

              "I probably eat 1 1/2 and save the rest," he said.

              -10-19-2008, 05:26 AM
            • RamWraith
              Young blood energizes Rams offense
              by RamWraith
              By Jeff Gordon

              The Rams offense came to life Saturday night when rookie receivers Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton hit the field against the Ravens.

              Sure, they suffered a few mishaps. Avery let some completions slip through his hands, including one in the end zone. Burton couldn’t quite make a highlight-reel catch along the right sideline; his “reception” was overturned by a video review.

              But these kids got open consistently. They made key plays. They brought the best out of quarterback Marc Bulger. They got the Rams offense into high gear.

              This was the first time they got to really show their potential this summer -- and they put on quite a show.

              “With Donnie getting hurt and Keenan having some tendinitis and some camp leg issues, we really never got to have them out there at the same time,” Rams coach Scott Linehan told reporters after his team routed Baltimore 24-10. “I was very pleased with their approach and their effort.

              “It wasn’t perfect. They had their share of mistakes, but they also had their share of plays and I think they showed that they have that short memory and the ability to come out and step up and make plays. It was fun to watch them.”

              It certainly was. So Linehan should move them up the depth chart and let their young legs energize the team.

              Veteran receiver Torry Holt looked like his old self Saturday night. He ran good route after good route to help Bulger find his rhythm.

              Dane Looker, one of Linehan’s favorites, continued his strong preseason with an impressive effort against the Ravens. He looked more than capable of moving up into the possession receiver role.

              On the other hand . . .

              Veteran receiver Drew Bennett looked sluggish again Saturday, then bowed out with a groin muscle strain. Why should the team waste any more time with him?

              Kick returner Dante Hall, who already had limited value as a receiver, suffered a high ankle sprain. Veteran Reche Caldwell, another under-whelming veteran, suffered a minor knee injury.

              So it’s time to turn the page and inject some more youth, speed and skill into the Rams attack.

              Last season, the Rams offense started with a yawn. The passing game featured too much east-west passing and not enough north-south aggression.

              There was too much checking down, too much dumping off, too many passes along the line of scrimmage. And as those offensive line injuries piled up, the offense got REALLY conservative.

              For fans of the old “Greatest Show on Turf,” this was really hard to watch.

              New offensive coordinator Al Saunders is trying to revive the unit. Already we’ve seen how he can make much better use of tight end Randy McMichael, who was relegated to a blocking role for much of last season....
              -08-26-2008, 04:20 AM
            • MauiRam
              Rams look like they're plodding along ..
              by MauiRam
              Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz

              More than ever, teams in the National Football League are airing it out, with footballs flying through stadium skies from coast to coast. Teams are armed with young-gun quarterbacks, golden-oldie quarterbacks and a fleet of receivers of every size.

              Did you check some of the box scores from Sunday's games? It's crazy out there. Eight quarterbacks had 300-yard passing days, 10 threw for at least two touchdowns, and eight had passer ratings over 100. This accounting does not include Monday night's game between Denver and San Diego.

              Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and other quarterback Mad Men turned a slate of NFL regular-season contests into "Madden NFL 10."

              This wasn't a Sunday fluke show; the prolific passing numbers were part of an unmistakable trend. With help from STATS LLC, I attempted to research the extent of the NFL's let-it-rip mentality.

              This is what I found:

              — The current overall NFL passer rating of 84.8 would be the best since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

              — The current completion rate of 61.2 percent would be the best since the 1970 merger.

              — The current touchdown-interception ratio of 1.53 would be the best since the merger.

              — The number of attempted passes per game (both teams) of 66.6 would be the second-highest since the merger.

              — The net yards passing (438.5) per game and gross yards passing per game (467), for both teams, would rank No. 2 since the merger.
              — The percentage of completions that result in first downs (33.9) would be No. 2 since the merger.

              — The yards per passing attempt (7.01) is the eighth-highest since the merger. And the rate of quarterbacks being sacked per passing attempt (6.2 percent) is the sixth-lowest since the merger.

              We're seeing big plays, long plays, dazzling plays and quarterbacks getting a chance to be John Unitas for the day. This fast and furious style of play is generating excitement throughout NFL venues.

              Teams are combining to score 42.3 points a game so far, which is not far off from last season's average of 44.1 points a game, which ranked No. 1 since the merger.

              All of this, of course, is bad news for the Rams, who are going in reverse, going against the league trend. With so many NFL teams flying around and scoring quickly, the Rams are plodding along with a horse-and-buggy offense. They've been left behind.

              That applies to the Rams' defense, too. Quarterbacks are completing 67 percent of their passes against the Rams this season. The Rams are surrendering 8.4 yards per attempt, which ranks 30th among 32 teams. And over the next few weeks the Rams' defensive backs will encounter Peyton Manning,...
              -10-20-2009, 08:55 AM
            • 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