For the vast majority of the past two years, Rams wide receiver Chris Givens has been known as the number one receiver, and for good reason. In his rookie year Givens showed that he could make plays when needed.
Givens was two yards away from 700 receiving yards in his rookie season, which included a stretch of five consecutive games in which he had at least one reception of 50-yards or more. However, in 2014 Givens took a step back, partly because of the injury to Sam Bradford, but even with Bradford Givens just wasn’t making the plays that Rams fans had become accustomed to seeing him make.
Due to this step back the Rams brought in a low-risk, high reward player in free agency in former Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt, and by the sounds of it, the Rams are excited to have the explosive receiver.
“He’s a big, explosive wide receiver who can make plays down the field.” Said Bradford. “He’s looked good in his time here. I think just watching him and the energy that he comes onto the field with every day has been great. Not only for the offense, but for that wide receiving corps in general. I just feel like he brings kind of a presence and an energy that hasn’t been there in the past.”
Head coach Jeff Fisher drafted Britt in the first round of the 2009 draft, and for his first two years, it looked like he was going to be a solid player. In his first two years in the league Britt had 701 yards receiving and three touchdowns in 2009 and then had a career high 775 yards and nine touchdowns in 2010.
“He’s a very emotional kid. He’s an emotional receiver. He looks the part and he can make the plays. I was really happy to see him come on.” Fisher said. “He kept himself in really good shape during the free agency period. He came in, has done a great job inside. He’s had no setbacks, feels great physically. He could potentially return to where he was a very productive receiver.”
Britt has been pretty much nonexistent in Tennessee ever since Fisher left, as has only had 974 total receiving yards and seven touchdowns over the past three seasons combined. Some of that has to do with off the field issues as well as injuries that have kept him off the field.
Fast forward to the 2014 OTA’s in which Givens is looking to get back to form and Britt is looking to get back to form on a consistent basis. For really the first time in his career, Givens is not guaranteed to be the number one receiver, let alone even start.
At Rams OTA’s is Former Rams defensive tackle and current radio announcer, D’Marco Farr. Farr said that Britt has been “running his yap, and backing it up with spectacular plays.” This guy brings that attitude that we see on the defense to the offensive side of the ball, something that was missing aside from Harvey Dahl who is no longer on the team.
There is no question that Britt has the ability to be the number in guy in St Louis. Some have even said that Britt may have been the piece of the puzzle that this offense has been looking for. Although Britt hasn’t produced since 2010, a fresh start with the Rams may have been all he needed to get back to where he was in his first and second season in the league.
For the first time in his career, Bradford has a veteran guy not named Austin Pettis, for the first time he has a playmaker who has ‘been there, and done that’. Britt could be a guy that Bradford can trust to make the right read at the line of scrimmage and trust to win the 50-50 ball.
Kenny Britt looks like a man on a mission, and for a receiver like Givens, that is bad news. Britt very well could win the number one receiver spot and then Givens will have players like Stedman Bailey when he gets back and Austin Pettis who both have been nothing but consistent when they are on the field.
When the Rams need a first down on 3rd and six, you better believe Bradford is looking right at Bailey or Pettis, guys he can trust to get open and make the catch.
If Givens wants to maximize his playing time and his future with the team, he needs to prove that he can make the plays that Britt can and can consistently and be reliable. This is crunch time for Givens, if he has it, he’s got to go out and prove it.
There is always the chance that Givens would be the number two receiver, but I don’t think that scenario is as likely unless Givens can prove that he can make the big play in the big moments, plays that Pettis has made over the past two years, and plays that Bailey started to make last year.
Kenny Britt has definitely shaken up the situation at wide receiver, possibly a little more than some expected. Some thought Britt would just be a depth guy or a situational player.
It is only OTA’s and a lot is going to happen once training camp starts. However, by the sounds of how things are going in camp, Britt very well could be the Rams’ new number one receiver, and for Chris Givens, that isn’t good news.