Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The St. Louis Rams have some players who need to step up without Danny Amendola in uniform. Can they do it?
The St. Louis Rams have a big question to answer this week, in just a few hours. Sam Bradford and company take the field without trusted receiver Danny Amendola, the man responsible for what seems like damn near all of the targets in the team's passing game. So who steps in to fill the void?
Logic says the Rams will take a committee approach to it, rotating in a cast of characters to catch those targets that would otherwise go to Amendola. All of those guys come with big question marks.
Steve Smith - His natural home is in the slot, and it stands to reason that he will get the first crack to take over for DA in the middle. He hasn't been the same since microfracture surgery. The Rams benched him last week. Is this finally his shot at redemption?
Austin Pettis - A third-round pick in 2011, he hasn't really looked the part ... until a few flashed of it recently. Don't let the size fool you; Pettis is a slot receiver. Can he make himself relevant this week?
Chris Givens - The rookie is an outside threat, but his work deep will be even more important this week, as Amendola was being used more often as a deep target. Here's what Greg Cosell said about Givens in a podcast this week:
We know he runs well. There's a place for guys like that in the league. The next question for guys like that as they transition to the league is what do they become. Is he nothing more than a straight line vertical guy or can he become a guy that runs underneath drags, you can get him the ball on the move, run after catch, that's what we ultimately have to see.
Is this the week Givens becomes more than just a speed guy?
Brian Quick - In April, the Rams made Quick sound like the second coming of Larry Fitzgerald. The reality of the transition from App State to the NFL said otherwise. He has the talent, but he's learning the nuances of being an NFL receiver, as Patrick Peterson was all too quick to remind him of last week. Can he start getting up to speed this week?
Lance Kendricks - The most surprising second-round pick in a decade has been a big part of this offense, but it's mostly as a sixth blocker. His hands are shaky when the ball isn't thrown right into his numbers. Can he start to be the receiving weapon the Rams envisioned when Josh McDaniels talked them into picking the Wisconsin tight end?
Brandon Gibson - Of all the receivers on the roster, I tend to think Gibson will see the biggest increase in workload without Danny in uniform. Other than one ugly, ill-timed drop against the Bears, Gibson has had a good season so far, but a limited one. Can he step up now that he's the Rams No. 1 receiver?
Sam Bradford - No Amendola is a really big deal for the quarterback. Bradford looks to his top receiver more than anyone else on the field. No DA means more work for him. Can he play well without his go-to guy?