Remember the days when the Rams actually had a decent receiving corps. Remember when they had one of the best receiving duos in the NFL with Bruce and Holt. Those days are long gone now and dearly missed. The Rams have been searching ever since Bruce and Holt left for just one good receiver let alone two. The Rams have failed to produce a 1,000 yard receiver since The Bruce and Holt era came to an end. Last year’s receivers showed much promise to be future playmakers, and just recently drafted the most exciting college football receiving duo in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. The chances a team ever drafts both of the star receivers from the same program is rare. The Rams haven’t seen a receiving duo that showed so much promise since the Bruce and Holt era, and Rams fans are hoping that Austin and Bailey will be the second coming.
The reasoning behind the Rams not having a decent receiver touch the field is inexcusable. It has simply been bad drafting with some plain old tough luck involved. The years the Rams have had a high draft pick there hasn’t been a number one wide receiver worth taking that high. Then the years where the Rams have been decent, guys like A.J. Green and Julio Jones come out, or the Rams just get unlucky and teams trade ahead of the Rams to get their guy. This year was different however. The Rams fell in love with Tavon Austin and were the team doing the trading up, and then let teammate Stedman Bailey fall into their lap in the third round. Austin has some tough shoes to fill as the last receiver the Rams chose in the first round just happened to be Torry Holt and fans are expecting Austin to contribute just as much as Holt did.
Austin and Bailey could very well be the next best receiving duo in the NFL, they definitely have the talent and potential. But it takes more than just talent to make a great receiving duo. The receivers must have a great relationship and know everything about each other such as their habits, what they like and don’t like, and most importantly their playing style. That’s what made the greatest show on turf so great. Every player on the offense liked each other and had great relationships with one another. They were also unselfish, which is another characteristic of a great receiving corps. Having guys like Chad Ochocinco (Chad Johnson) or Terrell Owens that demand the football in their hands is not healthy for an offense. Duos like Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, or even Randy Moss and Chris Carter all had these things in common and complimented each other well. Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey have all these characteristics. They have played the last three years together and have gotten to know each other and how the other plays in that time span. They also seem to be like best friends on and off the field. They are both also unselfish and just want to make plays whenever and however they get the ball in their hands.
While Austin piled up the highlight reel runs at WVU, Bailey piled up the stats. The two worked defenses inside and out, and scored 37 of Geno Smith’s 43 passing touchdowns in the end zone. The Mountaineers often lined up Bailey on one side, and Austin on the other, and forced defenses to pick their poison. Someone was getting open, and that someone was a threat to score. Austin and Bailey combined for 2,465 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns in 2011 and then dominated college football in 2012 with 2,911 yards receiving and 40 touchdowns(3 rushing TD’s). This duo has the potential to do the same thing at the next level and if you have any doubts just give Geno Smith a call.
Bruce and Holt had their best season in 2000 when they combine for 3,106 yards receiving and 13 TDs which are some of the better stats in league history. Not going to say it will be impossible for Austin and Bailey to put up big number similar to that, but let’s see how they look when they take their first NFL snaps. Even if they were to put up half those numbers, Rams fans would be happy.
Duos like Holt and Bruce don’t come around very often and often play their best when they are together. Holt had 8 straight seasons where he had at least 1,000 yard receiving. In 2008 when Bruce left for San Francisco, Holt only had 796 yards receiving which still happens to be better than any Rams receiver in the past decade. Austin and Bailey know each other well and have experience playing with one another which is a huge plus. We’ll see if the duo can keep up their success in St. Louis and bring back the Greatest Show on Turf.
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