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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
    Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

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

    Comment


    • #3
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

        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.
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.

        Comment


        • #5
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment


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

                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: St. Louis Rams lack wide receiver experience

                      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 ..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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?

                        Comment

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                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Receiver Has Shot To Boost His Role
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          Receiver has shot to boost his role

                          BY JIM THOMAS
                          Monday, August 30, 2010


                          The season-ending knee injury to Donnie Avery could mean an extra dose of White Chocolate for the Rams' wide receiver corps.

                          Mardy Gilyard, the free-spirited rookie wideout, has a nickname for just about everybody. And White Chocolate is his moniker for Danny Amendola.

                          The rest of the wide receivers, Gilyard explains, are sugar cookies. "We bring the sweet portion to the game," he said. "So if you bring one lone chocolate chip, and place it in a single sugar cookie, how much would that chocolate chip stand out? Get my drift?"

                          Kind of. Although he approves of the nickname, and takes it as a compliment, Amendola shakes his head at the World According to Gilyard.

                          "Mardy's going to have a TV show I'm pretty sure one of these days," Amendola said. "He's a character. But he definitely can keep the room light, I guess you could say."

                          In any event, it looks like Amendola gets the first crack at replacing Avery in the starting lineup opposite Laurent Robinson. Amendola already was playing a lot as the slot receiver in three-receiver sets, but this would basically put him on the field for every play on offense.

                          The Rams didn't make a lot of personnel changes at wide receiver over the offseason. Much of their hope at the position lies in developing young returning players, many of whom got their first taste of extended NFL playing time last season.

                          Amendola, for one, looks like he has elevated his game from last season, when he caught 43 passes for 326 yards in 14 games. (He was signed off the Philadelphia practice squad Sept. 22.)

                          "I tell you, he's a competitor," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He's got a little cut between his fingers so he just wraps it up."

                          Actually, it's more than a little cut. Amendola needed six stitches to close a cut in the webbing between two fingers on his left hand. His fingers were split catching a fastball from quarterback Sam Bradford against New England. Amendola didn't even know he was hurt until he looked down and noticed one of his receiving gloves was bloody.

                          "You've got to kind of keep him from hurting himself," Spagnuolo said. "He just wants to go, go, go, which is a good problem to have. I love the way he plays and competes. ... I think it's great for our team, and the other guys see it, too. And I think they feed off of it."

                          Although he primarily has played the slot during training camp, Amendola learned all the wide receiver positions last year. So he should be able to step right into Avery's flanker spot in two-receiver sets.

                          The question mark right now is finding that third wide receiver. Gilyard, a fourth-round draft pick from Cincinnati, could...
                          -08-30-2010, 07:50 PM
                        • MauiRam
                          Amendola figures to get more playing time
                          by MauiRam
                          BY JIM THOMAS Monday, August 30, 2010 12:15 am

                          The season-ending knee injury to Donnie Avery could mean an extra dose of White Chocolate for the Rams' wide receiver corps.

                          Mardy Gilyard, the free-spirited rookie wideout, has a nickname for just about everybody. And White Chocolate is his moniker for Danny Amendola.

                          The rest of the wide receivers, Gilyard explains, are sugar cookies. "We bring the sweet portion to the game," he said. "So if you bring one lone chocolate chip, and place it in a single sugar cookie, how much would that chocolate chip stand out? Get my drift?"

                          Kind of. Although he approves of the nickname, and takes it as a compliment, Amendola shakes his head at the World According to Gilyard.

                          "Mardy's going to have a TV show I'm pretty sure one of these days," Amendola said. "He's a character. But he definitely can keep the room light, I guess you could say."

                          In any event, it looks like Amendola gets the first crack at replacing Avery in the starting lineup opposite Laurent Robinson. Amendola already was playing a lot as the slot receiver in three-receiver sets, but this would basically put him on the field for every play on offense.

                          The Rams didn't make a lot of personnel changes at wide receiver over the offseason. Much of their hope at the position lies in developing young returning players, many of whom got their first taste of extended NFL playing time last season.

                          Amendola, for one, looks like he has elevated his game from last season, when he caught 43 passes for 326 yards in 14 games. (He was signed off the Philadelphia practice squad Sept. 22.)

                          "I tell you, he's a competitor," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He's got a little cut between his fingers so he just wraps it up."

                          Actually, it's more than a little cut. Amendola needed six stitches to close a cut in the webbing between two fingers on his left hand. His fingers were split catching a fastball from quarterback Sam Bradford against New England. Amendola didn't even know he was hurt until he looked down and noticed one of his receiving gloves was bloody.

                          "You've got to kind of keep him from hurting himself," Spagnuolo said. "He just wants to go, go, go, which is a good problem to have. I love the way he plays and competes. ... I think it's great for our team, and the other guys see it, too. And I think they feed off of it."

                          Although he primarily has played the slot during training camp, Amendola learned all the wide receiver positions last year. So he should be able to step right into Avery's flanker spot in two-receiver sets.

                          The question mark right now is finding that third wide receiver. Gilyard, a fourth-round draft pick from Cincinnati, could get the first crack at the job if he shows he has a good...
                          -08-30-2010, 12:29 AM
                        • sosa39rams
                          Wr training camp
                          by sosa39rams
                          Well, I'm sure we all know our wide receiver corps is massive with potential and players. 10 young players trying to make the cut.

                          Personally, I think Robinson, Avery, Amendola, Gilyard, Foster and Gibson.

                          By the end of the 2009 season, the Rams were down to just one wide receiver on the depth chart that had actually gone through their training camp.

                          As they go through this year’s version of camp, there are 10, count ‘em 10, wide receivers on the roster. And unlike many positions on many teams where there are at least a few longshots certain to be gone when final cuts are made, there’s 10 receivers who have a legitimate shot to make the final roster.

                          “We’ve got a lot of young, talented guys there,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “That’s another position where we all kind of think we know how it’s going to look, but we’ll see what happens.”

                          Entering this camp, the Rams are certainly short on receivers with extensive NFL experience. The longest tenured Rams at the spot are Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton, both of whom are entering their third seasons in the NFL.

                          Laurent Robinson is entering his fourth year, which makes him the overall dean of Rams receivers. Aside from that trio, there’s Jordan Kent, a special teams ace who is also in his third year.

                          Danny Amendola, Brooks Foster and Brandon Gibson are entering their second year, though none played all of last season and Foster missed the entire year with an injury.

                          Then there’s a trio of rookies in Mardy Gilyard, Brandon McRae and Dominique Curry.

                          With so much youth and plenty of potential in place, the competition at receiver figures to linger well into the preseason and beyond before the Rams can sort out where all the pieces fit.

                          “We have a lot of young guys in the receiving corps but we also have got a lot of competition,” Robinson said. “We are all trying to make plays to impress the coaches and try to make this team so I am excited about the competition. Every day, every play, every rep we have to go out there and compete hard and make plays.”

                          Indeed, the intense competition that so far has the Rams regularly rotating the receivers to work with the top units on the offense is precisely what the Rams are counting on to help those players turn their potential into production.

                          Each player feels a little extra urgency to catch every pass, make every block and go the extra mile to stand out. It’s that competitive level that coach Steve Spagnuolo and receivers coach Nolan Cromwell hope more easily define which of the pass catchers will make the final roster.

                          “You rely on competition a lot because that is what makes everybody better,” Cromwell said. “An all pro guy doesn’t have competition; most of those guys know what it takes. But you have got to push here. Everybody has got to push each other to...
                          -08-03-2010, 06:47 PM
                        • Nick
                          Bradford's long, difficult journey begins
                          by Nick
                          Bradford's long, difficult journey begins
                          JEFF GORDON | Posted: Sunday, August 1, 2010 4:00 pm

                          The Rams are paying Sam Bradford a fortune to become the Face of the Franchise. The NFL’s first overall pick offers a beacon of hope for frustrated fans.

                          The team drafted him to become the catalyst for change, the Human Turning Point for an operation that lost its way.

                          But here’s the problem: the Rams offense has miles to go – despite that mind-boggling investment (up to $86 million!) at quarterback.

                          That was evident Sunday morning. Fans who ventured out to Rams Park watched the defense manhandle the offense during training camp drills.

                          Rams defenders blew up the run again and again. They sat on the short pass patterns that remain the bread and butter of this ball-control scheme.

                          They forced Bradford and his fellow quarterbacks to check down to their running backs again and again.

                          “You know, I think that’s typical this time of year,” Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said after the session. “Offense is so much timing and getting the ball out. It’s really the first time the quarterback gets anybody pushed in front of him. Same thing with the run blocks. That stuff will even itself out, but for the defensive side, I was happy to see that.”

                          Still, this scene was distressingly familiar for fans that endured last season’s 1-15 fiasco. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and his staff face an enormous challenge.

                          There are no magic wands in this league. Bradford’s arrival offers a starting point and no more.

                          Let’s put it this way: Aside from Bradford, running back Steven Jackson and perhaps rookie wide receiver Mardy Gilyard, how many skill position Rams would interest other teams?

                          Their most polished receiver, Laurent Robinson, has just 55 career receptions. He runs crisp routes but can’t stay healthy.

                          Speedy Donnie Avery has 100 catches in two seasons, but he looks more like a No. 3 receiver than a true No. 1. The obscure supporting cast behind these two includes Keenan Burton, Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola, Brooks Foster and Jordan Kent.

                          “A tremendous amount of competition. I’m enjoying watching it,” Spagnuolo said. “There’s a lot of quality guys there. Somebody will step forward. We’re not going to tag them a one, two, and three. We’re just going to have five, six, whatever we keep, wideouts that are going to help us win.”

                          Jackson’s back-ups include journeyman Kenneth Darby and fringe prospects Chris Ogbonnaya and Keith Toston. No NFL team has less depth at this critical position.

                          The Rams’ go-to tight end is Daniel Fells, who has 28 catches in two NFL seasons. Perhaps their most talented tight end, Fendi Onobun, is a former college basketball player.

                          And then there is the offensive line, which could feature inexperienced...
                          -08-01-2010, 03:07 PM
                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Rams Hope Competition Elevates Receivers
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          Rams Hope Competition Elevates Receivers
                          Tuesday, August 3, 2010


                          By Nick Wagoner
                          Senior Writer

                          By the end of the 2009 season, the Rams were down to just one wide receiver on the depth chart that had actually gone through their training camp.

                          As they go through this year’s version of camp, there are 10, count ‘em 10, wide receivers on the roster. And unlike many positions on many teams where there are at least a few longshots certain to be gone when final cuts are made, there’s 10 receivers who have a legitimate shot to make the final roster.

                          “We’ve got a lot of young, talented guys there,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “That’s another position where we all kind of think we know how it’s going to look, but we’ll see what happens.”

                          Entering this camp, the Rams are certainly short on receivers with extensive NFL experience. The longest tenured Rams at the spot are Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton, both of whom are entering their third seasons in the NFL.

                          Laurent Robinson is entering his fourth year, which makes him the overall dean of Rams receivers. Aside from that trio, there’s Jordan Kent, a special teams ace who is also in his third year.

                          Danny Amendola, Brooks Foster and Brandon Gibson are entering their second year, though none played all of last season and Foster missed the entire year with an injury.

                          Then there’s a trio of rookies in Mardy Gilyard, Brandon McRae and Dominique Curry.

                          With so much youth and plenty of potential in place, the competition at receiver figures to linger well into the preseason and beyond before the Rams can sort out where all the pieces fit.

                          “We have a lot of young guys in the receiving corps but we also have got a lot of competition,” Robinson said. “We are all trying to make plays to impress the coaches and try to make this team so I am excited about the competition. Every day, every play, every rep we have to go out there and compete hard and make plays.”

                          Indeed, the intense competition that so far has the Rams regularly rotating the receivers to work with the top units on the offense is precisely what the Rams are counting on to help those players turn their potential into production.

                          Each player feels a little extra urgency to catch every pass, make every block and go the extra mile to stand out. It’s that competitive level that coach Steve Spagnuolo and receivers coach Nolan Cromwell hope more easily define which of the pass catchers will make the final roster.

                          “You rely on competition a lot because that is what makes everybody better,” Cromwell said. “An all pro guy doesn’t have competition; most of those guys know what it takes. But you have got to push here. Everybody has got to push each other to get the best out of each other. The key is making sure they challenge each other...
                          -08-05-2010, 11:54 AM
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