Hello Rams fans, my name is Matt Schaefer, and this is my first post at Ramblin’ Fan. I’m a lifelong St. Louis native and Ram fan since ’95, and look forward to sharing my Rams and NFL related thoughts with you.
As the last week of July descends upon us, that can only mean one thing. A new year, new hope, new optimism. 32 teams will gather and except for maybe one or two, everyone will feel a sense of hope, that THIS is their year to break through.
I am looking at this year’s Rams squad and can’t help but feel the same. Many are saying we should make a push for Plaxico Burress, Braylon Edwards or another free agent WR. While I certainly think we could make improvements there, I believe this WR corps should be solid as it is, and the team should focus on other priorities in FA, such as finding a suitable backup to Steven Jackson.
Donnie Avery is coming back from injury, and if his twitter updates are accurate, is leaving a trail of smoke in his wake with 40 yd times in the 4.2 – 4.3 range. His production has been inconsistent in the past, but at least part of that is likely due to inconsistent play at the QB position. Also, defenses will at least have to honor the threat that he could burn them.
Speaking of deep threats, Danario Alexander will have had a full offseason to nurse that knee and get stronger. This could be a breakthrough year for him if he can stay healthy.
Danny Amendola. Need I say more? Danny became Sam’s go-to guy last year, especially after Mark Clayton went down. Tough, willing to go over the middle and catch the ball in traffic, and smart. You saw him and Bradford on the sidelines together a lot, building that connection, which is oh so important.
Hopefully Mark Clayton will be back, all signs point to him wanting to be back and the Rams wanting him back. Playing in just over 4 games (injured early in Game 5) in 2010 Mark caught 23 passes for 306 yards and was Sam’s number one target. Plus, with 6 years under his belt, he provides veteran leadership to group.
This brings us to this year’s draft picks at the position – Austin Pettis from Boise State, and Greg Salas from University of Hawaii. These two guys are physically very similar. Pettis is 6’3″ 209 lbs, Salas is 6’1″ 210 lbs. Neither is particularly speedy (40 times in the 4.5′s) but both guys are sure handed. Remember, the Rams passed on speedier guys like Torrey Smith from Maryland who some thought had too many drops in college.
According to scouting reports, Pettis had a wide catching radius at BSU. If the ball is off target he does a great job hauling it in, catching it away from his body, as well as catching the ball in traffic. This sounds like someone who could be a red zone threat. In addition, he can play all 3 wideout positions, apparently impressing Rams personnel at the combine with his knowledge and football intelligence. Great hands and high football IQ? I like what I hear.
Salas was actually ranked higher than Pettis at the draft by many, and I’ve heard some say they were surprised he was still available when the Rams took him in the 4th round. Salas is also considered to have sure hands and a high football IQ. Oh yeah by the way he also finished with 119 catches and 1889 yards last year, setting school records.
As we stand today that’s my projected 6 making the active roster. Obviously once camp starts anything can happen, including injuries and unexpected guys stepping up, etc. But as of today that’s who I would expect to see on the field Week 1 against Philadelphia.
Call me crazy but I think this WR corps has a chance to be dangerous, or should at least be solid, even if we don’t sign any new free agents at the position.