FanPost

Sophomore Slumps

I think I've seen enough to be fairly confident in "calling it". Maybe it's even a bit late in coming.

Janoris Jenkins and Chris Givens are having sophomore slumps. It's a well-documented phenomenon in the NFL, particularly in skill positions like theirs. It wasn't exactly what we all had in mind, but there's nothing like a Rams fan's denial to blind us to the truth.

The good news is, the slumps should soon be over. Even though the team and coaches still say they're playing for the playoffs, they're also treating the rest of this season as development time - live time practice, if you will.

Sunday's game against the 49ers, particularly the play calling and offensive miscues, makes a whole hell of a lot more sense when you realize that. Start with the pass incompletions; Stedman Bailey's getting serious reps as a possession receiver, with Brian Quick doing the same in the mid range. Givens and Austin are getting their limits stretched. The offense abandoned the run - they know they've got good things in Stacy and Cunningham, who could be the next CJ-Spiller-and-Fred-Jackson-like tandem - in favor of a "hey, let's just throw shit up and see how well these receivers do" approach. Heck, even having Kellen Clemens in at QB might be helping. If you're not worried about making mistakes, you might get lucky and have someone pull something out their ass that they didn't think they could do. It's confidence-building.

The point is, I predict that Givens will catch at least two long balls for touchdowns before the end of the season, and Janoris Jenkins will have a shutdown game somewhere in there too. The issues they have are not insurmountable, and they're going to figure out how to bring their games up to the next level soon enough.

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