I'll admit, I thought this would be an easy article. But after looking at EddieP's review of the front seven, I had more questions than answers. "Bright spots"? "Played pretty good"? "Fairly well"? How am I supposed to use anything like that when describing the horror we witnessed last year? I guess you could say up and coming, but that in itself is pretty damn generous.
Well, here goes nothing...
The first thing that comes to mind when describing the wide-out performance of 2011 is the drops. Or the injuries. Right off the bat, we thought we had something; Danny Amendola was going to be Wes Welker re-incarnate. Then his elbow turned into something I'd rather not talk about (seriously guys, we are done putting that picture as an article photo. Please).
We had Brandon Gibson, who turned out to be a pre-season dynamo. The assistant coaches, who neglected to actually coach, also forgot to tell Gibson that pre-season games don't matter, and thus, all his efforts were spent toasting fourth stringers in August. He ended the season with a lone score and 431 yards, and I doubt he will get a chance to make a repeat performance in 2012.
The Rams also had Austin Pettis and Greg Salas, the brothers rookie. Both of them had issues early on, but appeared to be on the upswing towards the end of the year. In typical Rams fashion, it didn't end well. Salas had his leg mauled by a Cardinal and ended up the IR after starting look impressive. Pettis, avid detractor of the fair catch signal, taker of PED's and he of thin twitter skin has a doubtful future with the Rams. Time (and a new coaching staff) will tell how the two newbies will come back from the negative end of the year results they both had.
On the injury side of things, it is tough to forget about Mark Clayton and Danario Alexander. Clayton's future with the team is in doubt after only seeing the field for a handful of plays and Danario's knee is the primary factor on whether or not we'll see more of DX next year. Both are capable receivers if they are healthy, but even that is questionable given their injury history.
The jury is still out on Nick Miller (and Dominique Curry). Do the Rams keep around special teams players, or does Fisher try and bring his own ST aces into the fold? After last year, the receivers all may move down a team or two, which doesn't exactly bode well for the two of them.
Last not but not least, there is Brandon Lloyd. If he would have been with the team for all 16 games he most likely would have had a 1000 yard season, which is amazing given the 2011 offense. Whether or not he stays is all on Lloyd. Does he like St. Louis? Jeff Fisher? Hue Jackson (or Schotty)? Is that enough to get him to forgo his loyalty to the
great Josh McDaniels? It's a wait-and-see-game, but the Rams would surely love to have him back. Sam Bradford would surely love to have some consistency with the people he's passing to, regardless of the offense, so here is hoping the Rams snag him long term.
So there you have it. The 2011 wide receiver review. Let's not go there again...