Rams face questions at wide receiver

Removing Bulger from the discussion, the two big questions on the minds of Rams fans regarding the future of the team are whether or not WRs Drew Bennett and Torry Holt will be in a Rams uniform for 2009. Fans maintain a certain ambivilence regarding Bennett, whose presence with the Rams has been unremarkable, to put it kindly. His contributions largely lost this season to a struggling offense and tight coverage, Torry Holt seems more ambivilent lately about his future with the Rams. Few want to see Torry Holt anywhere but here next season.

However, the situation is such that a 2009 Rams team without either Holt or Bennett is a possibility. Without Holt and Bennett, the Rams would lose depth at WR, contributing depth with Holt. Here's what the depth chart at WR would look like next season with the two vets jettisoned.

Donnie Avery, 5' 11" 184 lbs
Keenan Burton, 6' 202 lbs
Derek Stanley, 5' 11" 179 lbs
Dane Looker, 6' 194 lbs

Obviously, the Rams would need to add a WR or two prior to the season, be it through the draft or free agency. Avery owns a skill set worthy of a #1 WR, but he can't carry the weight alone. Keenan Burton sure looks like he can/will be a good #2 WR. He'll get more work as the season goes along in order for the Rams to make a better determination. If Stanley grabs hold of the kick returning duties with any authority, I have to think the job is his to lose in 2009. Looker's serviceable. Having a goodtight end would help matters too.

Another factor to consider, size. All of these receivers are pretty small. Conventional wisdom puts a premium on taller, bigger WRs, like Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald; however, as we discussed in a post no too long ago, teams are having success moving away from that doctrine (the Greatest Show days are a fine example). Right now, with Holt, the Rams don't have one of those "prototype" receivers, and I'm of the mind that the "need" for one is overrated.

2009 is the last year on Torry Holt's contract with the Rams, and the best route would be to keep him on board for one more year. However, if he sticks around next season, he probably gets bumped down to #2 on the depth chart (assuming Avery keeps playing well and stays healthy).

Would Holt be happy in that role? Depends how much action he gets, I guess. He's a competitor and not being involved in the offense much this season has obviously ruffled his feathers. So you have to ask another question in the Holt situation: will he be willing to stay with the Rams in 2009 or demand a trade/release?

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