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  • Rookie Is A Quick Study

    Rookie is quick study
    BY JIM THOMAS
    11/18/2009


    As Brandon Gibson made one catch after another Sunday against New Orleans, the collective thought throughout Rams Nation must have gone something like this: "OK, now we know why they traded for this guy."

    With fewer than a dozen practices under his belt since being acquired from Philadelphia in the Will Witherspoon trade, Gibson posted the most receptions (seven) for a Rams wide receiver and the most reception yards (93) for any Rams player this season.

    Gibson, a rookie from Washington State, is the first to admit he was nervous against the Saints. At the same time, he exudes confidence, although not in a cocky way.

    "Some people know what I'm capable of," Gibson said. "But there were probably a lot of people who haven't seen me play. I guess I kind of gave people a taste, and they're going to have high expectations. That's fine. I just want to go out there and be consistent, make sure I catch the ball and always attack and play at a high level."

    Some of Gibson's new teammates saw something in him in just the first few weeks of practice. Left guard Jacob Bell, for example, said it was

    obvious from the get-go that Gibson was a hungry player, and a player who had high expectations for himself.

    "I think that started in Philadelphia," Gibson said. "Because when you go out there, you've got DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Reggie Brown, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett, Kevin Curtis, Danny Amendola."

    In short, the Eagles were stacked at wide receiver at the start of this season. (Amendola is now a Ram; Baskett is with Indianapolis.)

    "We were out there, and we all were fighting (for playing time)," Gibson said. "We all wanted to get better. And you learn from situations like that. So practice is where it starts. You can set yourself apart in practice, and then it becomes easier in the games."

    An Army brat, Gibson was born in Germany and then attended high school in Puyallup, Wash., the hometown of former Rams wideout Dane Looker. Gibson stayed in-state for college and by his junior season at Washington State had blossomed into an All-Pacific 10 Conference performer (and a third-team All-American) with a school-record 1,180 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

    Gibson almost certainly would've been a first-day selection in the 2008 draft, but he decided to return for his senior season at Washington State.

    "You're only a senior once," Gibson said. "Even though I had a big junior year, I was excited about coming back and thought that I could even get better. I didn't feel like I was ready to take my game to the NFL level."

    But with a new head coach and a new offensive scheme, Gibson wasn't nearly as effective as a senior. The Cougars tumbled to 2-11 and Gibson finished with modest totals of 57 catches for 673 yards.

    "We were kind of young at some spots," Gibson said. "The (offensive) line was partially new. I went through five different quarterbacks. I didn't play to the best of my abilities, which was frustrating because I know what type of player I am and I know what I can do."

    In the 2009 draft, he tumbled all the way to the sixth round, No. 194 overall, before being selected by the Eagles.

    "I thought I should've went sooner," Gibson said. "But things worked out."

    Even though he couldn't crack the deep Philly receiver corps — he played in only one game before the trade — Gibson made an impression during the preseason and then on the practice field once the regular season started.

    "If I'm taking scout team reps, I don't want to go out there and just run around and not help myself," Gibson said. "That's just a wasted rep. The biggest thing is trying to get yourself better each and every rep. I wanted to take advantage of that situation, and I think I did well."

    Injuries caused the Eagles to be in need of a linebacker and the Rams to be looking for a wide receiver, which brought Gibson to St. Louis on Oct. 20 (along with a 2010 fifth-round draft pick). As a Ram, he had seen only spot duty against Detroit until Keenan Burton suffered a season-ending knee injury against New Orleans.

    Against the Saints, Gibson showed enough size (6-0, 210) to outmuscle defenders for yards after catch, while also displaying some elusiveness. Gibson has seven more games to show the Rams' front office and coaching staff that he can be an impact player in 2010 and beyond.

    While it appears that finding a No. 1-type receiver will remain a major offseason priority, Gibson, Donnie Avery, Danny Amendola and even little-used Ruvell Martin can convince general manager Billy Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo otherwise between now and January. Keep in mind that Laurent Robinson, Burton and Brooks Foster — all currently on the injured reserve list — will be part of the equation next season, too. For his part, Gibson is ready to stake his claim.

    "They made the trade for a reason," Gibson said. "They feel like I've got some talent, and they can use me here."

    Receiver signs — Wide receiver Jordan Kent has been signed to Burton's spot on the active roster. Kent (6-4, 219) was in training camp with Seattle this summer and was a sixth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2007.

  • #2
    Re: Rookie Is A Quick Study

    This guy was killin it..glad hes on board!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rookie Is A Quick Study

      What impressed me the most about him is how he would always fight for extra yardage, and consistently get it. Not to mention his awareness for the first down markers. This kid's got something going for him so far.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rookie Is A Quick Study

        Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
        What impressed me the most about him is how he would always fight for extra yardage, and consistently get it. Not to mention his awareness for the first down markers. This kid's got something going for him so far.
        Exactly. And this is what we stressed all year. There needed to be a solid receiver on the other end of Donnie Avery. Now that we have a threat on both receiver spots, the field is opening up a little more.

        I really hope Gibson plays a game like that against the Cards this week. He should get a touchdown.

        Comment

        Related Topics

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        • eldfan
          Brandon Gibson stands out in first test
          by eldfan
          Brandon Gibson stands out in first test

          BY BILL COATS
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          11/16/2009

          Never figuring that he'd have to wait 2½ months to have an opportunity to make a splash in the NFL, rookie wide receiver Brandon Gibson acknowledged that he was a bit frazzled Sunday.

          "I was actually kind of nervous the whole game, just because it was my first real action, and with Keenan (Burton) going down, your number's called quite a bit," Gibson said. "I just wanted to go out there and make plays and help this team."

          Burton, the Rams' No. 2 wide receiver, suffered what apparently is a season-ending knee injury about midway through the first quarter. That moved Gibson alongside Donnie Avery as the team's top two wideouts the rest of the way against the unbeaten New Orleans Saints.


          "Brandon came in and stepped up," Avery said. "He's a great receiver, very detailed in his routes. We need him now."

          All Gibson did was gather in seven catches for 93 yards — both team highs among the wide receivers this year — in a wrenching 28-23 defeat that wasn't cemented until the final snap.

          Asked if he felt that Gibson was capable of putting up such numbers, quarterback Marc Bulger chuckled and replied, "Eventually."

          "For him to come in after Keenan got hurt and play as well as he did is impressive, rookie or no rookie," Bulger added. "I think we found a really good receiver there."

          The 6-foot, 210-pound Gibson, Washington State's career receiving leader, also never figured that his unveiling would come with the Rams. Not after Philadelphia drafted him in the sixth round (No. 194 overall) in April.

          But the Eagles were loaded with wideouts, and when the Rams dangled linebacker Will Witherspoon in trade talks, Gibson became expendable after getting into just one game the first six weeks. The Rams also landed a fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft in the deal, consummated Oct. 20.

          "That is pretty weird, as a rookie getting traded. I don't think that happens too often," Gibson said. "I don't think that I needed to prove myself, because St. Louis knows what I'm capable of. They almost drafted me, actually, so I feel that it's my time.

          "They made the trade for a reason, and I have to go out there and help this team win."

          General manager Billy Devaney acknowledged that the Rams had been interested in Gibson and kept a close eye on him in the preseason, when he paced the Eagles with 12 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.

          Gibson, 22, was inactive Oct. 25 vs. Indianapolis as he tried to nail down the Rams' offensive scheme, similar to but not exactly the same as Philly's. He suited up Nov. 1 in Detroit but was in for only a few plays, with just one pass thrown...
          -11-16-2009, 02:24 PM
        • r8rh8rmike
          Gibson Continues To Grow
          by r8rh8rmike
          Gibson Continues to Grow
          By Jonathan Webb/Special to stlouisrams.com

          It’s been a long road in a short period of time for Brandon Gibson to become one of quarterback Sam Bradford’s favorite targets.

          The second-year wideout edged his way onto the roster this year after a strong preseason performance. Even then, he remained inactive for the first two weeks.

          How times have changed.

          Gibson has led the team in receiving since the team’s Oct. 31 win over Carolina, and his performance has not been lost on his coaching staff.

          “My goodness, what a great improvement he’s made,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “For a receiver like Brandon Gibson, I think it’s about consistency. He’s been targeted more but he’s been catching more balls. So I think that’s the key. We talk about making the routine plays routinely. He’s embraced that and has found a way to get that done.”

          Though the routine plays have been typical for Gibson, the spectacular has not been out of the question, either. He has proven to be a versatile threat, making receptions underneath the coverage, while splitting time with rookie Danario Alexander as the Rams’ top downfield threat.

          Success did not happen overnight for Gibson, who began last season with Philadelphia before being traded to the Rams. His 44 receptions for 492 yards on the year have already surpassed last year’s performance.

          After coming to St. Louis at midseason last year, Gibson caught 34 balls for 348 yards in nine games, including four starts. As encouraged as he may have been with that showing, he knew he had plenty to improve on before he would be a regular in the NFL.

          “I just wanted to practice a lot better,” Gibson said. “Last year, I didn’t think I was a very good practice player, but I think I wanted to change my view on things and practice hard every day.”

          Yet even that proved difficult near the beginning of this year, as his health betrayed him during the offseason.

          The 23-year-old Gibson missed much of the team’s OTAs while nursing a hamstring injury. Once healthy, Gibson began to make an impact in the Rams’ preseason contests, nudging his way onto the 53-man roster. After an injury to veteran Mark Clayton, Gibson’s numbers began to spike.

          For Gibson, the increased production is simply a matter of being given the opportunity to succeed.

          “I think the injuries set me back,” Gibson said. “It wasn’t that I wasn’t playing well. It was that I was injured and didn’t have a chance to get on the field. I’m glad that I got healthy and showed everyone that I’m a good player and I’m able to do some things.”

          ‘Some things’ include an eight-catch, 72-yard performance at San Francisco and a 67-yard showing against New Orleans last week, his top two performances of the year. Gibson has continued to receive more attention...
          -12-16-2010, 09:15 PM
        • Ramblin` Ram
          Gibson goes looking for a dust pan but finds the Rams
          by Ramblin` Ram
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          10/22/2009

          Brandon Gibson knows little about St. Louis — he'd never even been here until now. But he is aware of the Rams' lowly position in the NFL standings.

          "We don't have a win," Gibson said Wednesday. "I'm ready to go get one."

          Just 24 hours earlier, Gibson was ready to go get a dust pan and an ironing board in Philadelphia. He was on his way to the local Wal-Mart when he got the call from the Eagles, informing him he had been traded to St. Louis.

          "I was running errands, getting stuff for my apartment," Gibson said. "I get a call from a random 215 (area code) number, saying, 'We've got to make a trade and your name came up.' "


          Gibson wasn't able to finish his shopping.

          "I had to pack up and get going," he said. "I had a flight in a few hours. I still need a dust pan and an ironing (board)."

          The Rams need some catches from Gibson, and a touchdown or two wouldn't hurt, either. He's just the latest in what has been a carousel of wide receivers coming and going at Rams Park this season.

          Over the past six weeks alone, the Rams have claimed Ruvell Martin, waived Derek Stanley, waived, signed and waived Nate Jones, signed Danny Amendola off Philadelphia's practice squad, placed Laurent Robinson on injured reserve, re-signed Tim Carter, and now traded for Gibson.

          Has quarterback Marc Bulger ever gone through so many wideouts?

          "I don't know," he said. "Maybe linemen. But not receivers. I think eventually we'll find the right combination. The coaches are still figuring out what guys can do, and I think it'll work out eventually."

          Injuries have played a role in the nonstop shuffling at the position. But as Bulger mentioned, it does seem as if the Rams are still searching for that "right combination."

          As coach Steve Spagnuolo sees it, a successful, productive wide receiver corps needs a variety of pass-catchers — big ones, fast ones, quick ones.

          "Just off the cuff, I say you probably want a mixture of all of those guys," Spagnuolo said. "You have a guy that can stretch it vertical. You have a possession guy. ... A quick guy inside. A big guy that can take it downtown."

          But with a long grocery list of roster needs in the offseason, the Rams couldn't solve every need. As it turned out, the wide receiver corps has suffered. Injuries continue to prevent speedster Donnie Avery from being the go-to guy the Rams hoped for entering the season.

          Avery seemed to be returning to form following a training camp foot injury when he suffered a hip injury early in the second quarter against Jacksonville. The prognosis for a quick return was optimistic earlier in the week, but Avery was unable to practice...
          -10-22-2009, 08:26 AM
        • MauiRam
          Rams' Gibson shows what he can do
          by MauiRam
          By Jim Thomas

          When it comes to survival skills, Brandon Gibson is the cockroach of the Rams’ wide receiver corps. You can’t kill him off. Every year, some fans and media members sing a familiar refrain: We need an upgrade there. We can do better at that position.

          And every year, Gibson returns and finishes second or third on the team in receptions.

          That perseverance has been on display again recently. Against Arizona on Nov. 25 and versus San Francisco a week later, Gibson didn’t catch a pass. In fact, he didn’t even have one thrown his way in nearly five full quarters against the *****.

          “Throw him the ball,” fellow wideout Chris Givens said. “You see what he can do with it.”

          Last week in Buffalo, Gibson got the ball and showed what he can do with it – after a first half in which the Rams could get absolutely nothing going.

          On the opening drive of the third quarter, Gibson caught passes of 22 and 16 yards on back-to-back plays to get the Rams from near midfield to the Buffalo 9. Those two receptions alone eclipsed the Rams’ first-half passing total of 37 yards. The Rams scored two plays later to take a 7-6 lead.

          “That was a huge jump-start,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “We came in at halftime and knew we needed to make some adjustments. I thought Gibby did a great job of getting open. Creating after the catch, too.”

          Early in the fourth quarter, Gibson’s 24-yard reception helped the Rams out of a field-position jam on second and 11 from the St. Louis 4. Nothing came of the series, but Buffalo got the ball back at its 30 after a Johnny Hekker punt instead of at maybe midfield.

          Then came that frantic, memorable closing drive. Gibson’s 15-yard catch-and-run down the left sideline took the Rams from a third-and-10 play to a first down at the Buffalo 13 with 58 seconds to play. Two plays later, Gibson scored the game-winning touchdown on a 13-yard catch and tumble in tight coverage.

          “He stepped up big time, especially when nobody was catching the ball,” tight end Lance Kendricks said. “Sam trusted in him and he went to him, and he made some big plays.”

          So after going 0-for-Arizona and San Francisco, Gibson was the star of the game with six catches for a career-high 100 yards in a 15-12 victory.

          “This is huge for Gibby,” running back Steven Jackson said. “This season alone is huge for Gibby. You have a guy that continues to grow each year; I think we’ve seen that. When we traded for him and got him from Philadelphia, we’ve seen Gibby grow. I’m happy for him, and he’s showing up in big times.”

          Jackson knows better than most, because he’s one of the few players still around from the 2009 squad, the year the Rams acquired Gibson and a fifth-round draft pick from Philadelphia in a trade deadline deal that sent linebacker Will Witherspoon to the Eagles.
          ...
          -12-13-2012, 11:15 AM
        • r8rh8rmike
          Consistency Key To Gibson's Success
          by r8rh8rmike
          Consistency Key to Gibson's Success

          By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
          Posted Nov 24, 2010

          After another disappointing drop to end a Rams drive early this season, Rams receiver Brandon Gibson walked toward the sideline and was greeted by running back Steven Jackson.

          For all of the potential he’d flashed in his rookie season and the glimpses of it he’d shown again in the preseason and opening weeks of the regular season, Gibson simply couldn’t get the handle on what it would take to become the player Jackson knew he could be.

          “Consistency,” Jackson said. “I told Brandon earlier in the season when he was going through that funk that he was going through I told him the only thing that’s stopping him from being a play maker, having a breakout season is he was being inconsistent.”

          Indeed, the start of the 2010 season was far from what Gibson had envisioned after he came to the Rams in the middle of last year and immediately began to show enough promise to earn a starting role.

          On the day of the 2009 trade deadline, the Rams acquired Gibson as part of a package for linebacker Will Witherspoon. Soon, he was starting and by the time the year was over, he had accumulated 34 catches for 348 yards and a touchdown in 10 games with four starts.

          Preseason injuries combined with the aforementioned inconsistency and the lack of a role on special teams kept Gibson on the sidelines all together.

          That’s not exactly what he had in mind coming into his second season.

          “You go from not playing at all in Philadelphia and just kind of watching and observing guys like DeSean Jackson and Donovan McNabb and all of a sudden stepping into a starting role somewhat and then stepping back and then starting again,” Gibson said. “It’s been up and down but I try to keep my head level and play the game.”

          After he overcame those preseason injuries, including a nagging hamstring issue, Gibson found himself healthy but inactive for the first two games of the season. Eventually, injuries began catching up to the receivers, losing Laurent Robinson to a foot ailment for a few weeks and Mark Clayton to a knee injury for the season.

          In week three against Washington, Gibson was plugged back into the lineup, catching three passes for 33 yards. The following week against Seattle, Gibson caught a touchdown in the opening quarter to set the tone for the game.

          But the solid start was marred by a case of the dropsies that lasted for the next couple of games.

          Still, quarterback Sam Bradford, Jackson and everyone else stayed confident that Gibson could make plays and continued to give him opportunities. Soon enough, Gibson began to catch almost everything thrown his way.

          In the Oct. 31 game against Carolina, Gibson hauled in six catches for 67 yards. Since, he and Bradford have developed a strong...
          -11-25-2010, 07:00 PM
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