Last time on our position breakdown on Ramblin’ Fan, we broke down the running back position which could possibly the most heated competition in camp. Well if it’s one other position that will be a must watch during camp it will be at wide receiver, especially with the emersion of Austin Pettis. Now time to break it down.
The Rams used to have too many weapons, and as of late it seems like they cant get any. It doesn’t help either that Amendola, Jackson, and Gibson left in the offseason. Ever since Bruce, Holt, and Faulk left, offensive weapons have been few and far between. This season is different however, Chris Givens emerged as a rising star last season and will enter this year as the number one guy. The Rams also have Brian Quick who has a lot to prove this season, and don’t forget about Austin Pettis who just had a great mini camp. The team also drafted the best playmaker in the draft in Tavon Austin as well as drafting teammate Stedman Bailey to add depth at the position. The Rams on paper to the average football fan, don’t have a good receiver corps, however, with what we saw last season, these guys could get the job done.
The Rams haven’t had a 1,000 yard receiver since the days of Marc Bulger and Torry Holt. The Rams had hopefuls in Donnie Avery and Brandon Lloyd, but Avery got hurt and never played another down for the team, and Lloyd was on the team on a bad year. Givens is another hopeful to break the drought, and he may just do it. The Rams look to have a passing oriented offense once again, as that’s where the majority of their weapons are, they also have a better offensive line compared to past years, and Sam Bradford will be in the same system for the second year in a row for the first time in his career. Givens has 698 yards receiving and had a stretch of five games where he had one reception that went for 50+ yards, which just happened to be a record. Givens has the ability to stretch the field as well as run other shorter routes. If Givens stays healthy the second year player out of Wake Forest could just be the answer to wide receiver the Rams have been looking for.
The other second year wide receiver is Brian Quick. Quick is always a very interesting topic to discuss just because you know he has the ability to do well, he just needs to use his physicality more. Quick has been labeled as a “bust” since he didn’t produce in his rookie season. The fact of the matter is though that Quick didn’t see the field a whole lot last season as the coaches wanted him to learn last season. However, slowly but surely I am also joining the Brian Quick is a bust bandwagon. Quick was almost penciled in at the number two receiver position and it was up to him to lose it. If Pettis keeps preforming like he has, it might just happen. Fisher and Snead have patience, but I don’t know if they have patience to wait yet another year for Quick to develop.
Speaking of Austin Pettis, he has been the most surprising player on the team thus far, and to be honest I didn’t expect him to be on the roster in another year or two. Pettis was the most impressive player in camp and he might finally be figuring things out and be getting up to speed in the NFL. Many forget that not only is this Bradford’s year in the same system, but it’s Pettis’ as well. Pettis is also the only receiver Bradford has had with him his entire career, therefore the two certainly know what to expect from each other and share chemistry. The great thing about Pettis is that he is versatile and can play in the slot or on the outside. If Pettis takes what he did in mini camp and takes it all the way through training camp, he may just have won a starting spot on the roster.
Finally the Rams two rookies. First we’ll start with Tavon Austin. The Rams traded up to get Austin for a reason. The Rams like what he can do, and they like that he can score from anywhere on the field. Austin will take over for Amendola in the slot and that’s where he will see the majority of his snaps, but don’t be surprised if Austin lines up at running back more than a few times. Against Oklahoma Austin had over 300 yards rushing, so he can be successful in that area. Austin may not be the player fans expect him to be in his first year, but there is little doubt that Austin can become a great player for the Rams.
Stedman Bailey will be a solid depth guy for the Rams, who definitely has the ability to work his way up the depth chart. Bailey runs great routes and has reliable hands. Had it not been for Austin and Smith creating so much noise, it might have been Bailey drafted in the first round instead as Bailey actually out up better receiving numbers than Austin. Bailey will get his opportunities and if he takes advantage of them Brian Quick could see himself at the bottom of the depth chart once again.
The wide receiver battle will be a heated one for sure next month when camp finally arrives. This is by far the best group of receivers that the Rams have had in a long time and many fans are calling them the greatest show on turf round two, but as the old saying goes, “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” However, if the offense does click, defenses better watch out.