The tight end position is going to be an instrumental part of the St. Louis Rams offense in 2012. So important, in fact, that the Rams will have nine TEs going into Training Camp. Lance Kendricks will be the main receiving option out of this group. Brain Schottenheimer will look to use him similar to how he used Dustin Keller with the Jets.
Kendricks was a surprise pick for the Rams in the 2011 draft. Many were expecting either a RB or a DT with the 15th pick in the second round. There were even rumors that Mikel LeShoure was on top of the Rams draft board, but Josh McDaniels pleaded his case for Lance Kendricks. The hope was to run a two-TE offense with Lance and Michael Hoomanawanui similar to what the New England Patriots have done with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernadez.
That never came close to existence. Illinois Mike barely saw the field in 2011 with multiple injuries. Lance Kendricks on the other hand only missed one game, but he had the worst case of "dropsies" I have ever seen.
According to Pro Football Focus he had nine dropped passes to only 28 receptions, and a dismal catch percentage of 52%. On the bright side, the man can run block. PFF gave him a grade of 3.7 in run blocking and a barely negative number in pass blocking -0.4.
The problem is simple. He is dropping the ball. He gets open, but struggles to make the catch.
The solution is not so easy. Only so much can be coached when it comes to pass catching. Hell, I can teach anybody how to do it (Make a triangle touching your thumbs and index fingers. Let the nose go into the triangle and wrap the rest of you hand around. Use fingertips to catch the ball) Where coaching can really help Kendricks is with the mental process of catching a pass. Players have to feel comfortable catching the ball. They need to stay focused, but they need to relax at the same time. Dwelling on past drops will only make you drop future passes. Stay focused.
Lance Kendricks should be a productive player for the Rams offense, if he can fix his hands. Brain Schottenheimer used Dustin Keller to great effect in New York. He and Kendricks are very similar players. They are around the same size (Lance 6' 3" 243 lbs, Dustin 6' 2" 250lbs) and have similar skill sets.
Lance Kendricks had a terrible rookie season, but if he can find a cure for his horrible case of "dropsies", he should be a very productive player in his sophomore campaign.