The St. Louis Rams were pretty impressive, and explosive, during the team’s 27-26 loss to the Denver Broncos on Saturday night. The Rams held a 20-10 lead at half time, with both team’s first teams on the field for its entirety.
It was a great performance considering who the Rams were playing against. Peyton Manning was on his game and the Broncos high-octane offense was on display, yet the Rams defense held its ground.
And while the offense was spear-headed by a couple of special teams plays by Tavon Austin and some precision passing by quarterback Sam Bradford, a familiar weakness of the organization reared its ugly head.
The Rams still are weak at the wide receiver position, even with the additions of Austin and Stedman Bailey in the most recent draft and Chris Givens and Brian Quick in last year’s draft.
Givens certainly is holding up his end of the bargain and already, in just his second year, looks like a bonafide No. 2 wide receiver in this league. Unfortunately, the Rams are asking him to be a No. 1 and while Givens may be able to admirably fill the role, it still leaves a hole.
Those looking for Austin to be a No. 1 wideout will be sorely mistaken. He certainly will be a factor in the offense out of the slot, the back field, and who knows where else, but he will not be lined up out wide, working the sidelines, like a prototypical No. 1.
The Rams do not have a No. 1 because Quick’s development has been slowed in a way where he simply a specialist and nothing more and Bailey looks to be buried on the depth chart.
The Rams are asking Austin Pettis to be the No. 2 wideout and Pettis simply is not good enough to fill the role. Pettis is a serviceable option out of the slot, but he simply can not play near the sideline and that was evident against the Broncos on Saturday night.
Pettis could not get any separation all night. Bradford over threw him badly on a ball in the end zone mostly because Pettis was blanketed in coverage.
When Pettis was able to get a step on a play just prior, he was unable to get the elevation necessary to go up and get the ball and make the play, which is sad considering he is 6’3″.
I am not bashing Pettis. He is a fine No. 3 or No. 4 option at wide receiver out of the slot. The problem is the Rams are still short-handed and lacking a true No. 1, or even an additional No. 2 wide out. Austin can not be that man, because he will be used in so many other ways.
Austin’s talent, combined with the continued development of Givens and the presence of Jared Cook over the middle may not make it necessary for the Rams to have a second sideline threat.
But for now, in 2013, the team lacks a second sideline receiver and the Rams will need to make up for it with creativity to make sure it not a problem.
- Which St. Louis Rams wide receiver will have the most receiving yards in 2013? (stlsportsminute.com)
- St. Louis Rams offense still lacking execution after Week 2 preseason loss (stlsportsminute.com)
- Tavon Austin should not be St. Louis Rams full-time punt returner (stlsportsminute.com)
- Stedman Bailey will not be No. 5 on St. Louis Rams receiving depth chart for long (stlsportsminute.com)