Every since Bruce and Holt left Saint Louis the Rams haven’t had a number one wide receiver come through town. In fact they haven’t had a 1,000 yard receiver come through town. Donnie Avery showed promise, but after tearing his ACL in a preseason game, he was never the same player. Brandon Lloyd came through and made some plays, but only signed a one year deal and didn’t return to the team. The Rams finally have a group that has a lot of potential. The group includes Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Stedman Bailey, Brian Quick, and Austin Pettis.
NFC West watch out because this kid is going to make plays. Whether it’s running the football, catching the football, or returning kicks, this kid will find his way to the end zone which is what the Rams are desperate for, points. If you didn’t know by now, Tavon Austin will take over Danny Amendola’s position in the slot. Austin is small, but what people don’t know or forget is that Austin has never missed a game, college or high school. Granted there will be bigger and stronger players hitting him in the NFL, but the thing that Austin does is avoid unnecessary contact by stepping out of bounds. Austin could very well become a better Amendola. He has proven that he is more durable, but he will still have to prove it at the next level, he is faster, more agile, and he is younger. Tavon Austin was the most electrifying player in the draft, and he will prove that this season. Austin was a great pickup in the draft. He was worth trading up to get.
Chris Givens receiving for 698 yards last season is the closest the Rams have gotten to a 1,000 yard receiver since the departure of Torry Holt. The Rams have missed a wide receiver that can make plays down the field, and Chris Givens can do exactly that, and he proved it last season. Last year Givens had a stretch of five games where he made one reception of 50 yards or more and two of those went for touchdowns. One of which was against Seattle’s Richard Sherman, who is one of the top CB’s in the NFL. Givens will probably continue his role on the outside this season as he excelled in it last year and Tavon Austin will be limited to the slot. With more snaps this season and a year under his belt, don’t be surprised if Givens becomes the first Rams receiver since Holt to have 1,000 yards receiving.
Stedman Bailey was a great pickup by the Rams in the third round. It’s amazing that he made it that far. Bailey actually had more yards than Austin at WVU with 1,622 yards as well as scoring more touchdowns with 25. Bailey had 6 games last season where he had over 100 yards receiving, 2 of those he had over 200, and one where he had over 300 yards receiving. Geno Smith and Tavon Austin may have gotten the majority of the attention at WVU, but Bailey certainly played a large role in arguably the most electrifying offense in the country. Bailey is a reliable receiver that has great hands and runs precise routes. He will be able to replace Brandon Gibson and has potential to be a lot better.
It is hard to predict what Brian Quick is going to do this year. He has been working hard to get better this offseason, which proves that he is committed to the team. Whether or not he is going to produce is another question. The guy is a physical, athletic monster and if he can play to his potential, he will be able to do great things. There were times last season where he showed that potential, if he can do what he did against San Francisco and Minnesota more often, Quick will be a great player for the Rams.
Don’t forget about Austin Pettis. Pettis may not get a lot of stats, but he played an important role in the receiving corps last season. Pettis scored four touchdowns which was one of the leaders on the team. He was also clutch in crunch time, he made a huge fourth down catch against the Buffalo Bills. Nobody should take Austin Pettis for granted. He may not have the stats that fans love, but he comes up big when it matters.
Fans have been comparing this group to becoming the next Greatest Show on Turf. Im not going to say that’s not possible, but that kind of offense comes around once every blue moon. It’s like the fearsome foursome, that kind of production doesn’t happen very often. This offense is definitely going to be better than it was last year strongly due to the upgrade at wide receiver. The Rams may just be on their way to taking the next step.