Remember last season, when every receiver the St. Louis Rams had – other than Danny Amendola – couldn’t catch a cold? Remember the season finale, the one where Danario Alexander dropped a long pass that would have put the Rams in position to go 8-8 and into the playoffs? Well nothing as changed this season either.
Last week’s game versus Washington was unacceptable. This loss can be put squarely on the receivers. The defense forced timely turnovers and gave the ball back to the offense in great field position. When it was time to move the ball through the air, targeted receivers kept dropping passes. Why don’t we have guys that can catch? Oh wait…
This past draft, the Rams and its Front Office drafted three pass catchers in the first four rounds – the only round where a receiver was not picked was the first round. Those three receivers – one being tight end Lance Kendricks – had the reputation in college of catching everything that came near them. Austin Pettis and Greg Salas, the two WRs, had uber-productive careers at their respective educational institutes. Why have we not seen these sticky hands translate in the pros?
So these guys the Rams drafted are supposed to be pass-catching machines. Yet, so far they have only proved the can drop passes.
According to the STATS LLC, Kendricks doesn’t have any dropped passes – dropped catches is a tricky stat – but we can say otherwise. Let’s begin with the most recent game. On the Rams’ field goal drive, I can remember Sam Bradford going to Kendricks over the middle. It could have resulted in a touchdown, but he was unable to come up with the reception. Then on the next scoring drive, Kendricks was also unable to make a catch that would have resulted in six points. Luckily, Steven Jackson was able to catch and ran it in for the TD.
The other guy, Greg Salas, does have two dropped passes so far this season and I’m pretty sure those came in the game against the Giants. One of them was a legitimate catch, but a defender smacked him hard causing him to drop it. I do not really remember when the other drop came. What really hurts when it comes to Salas is his catch rate: an abysmal 45.5 percent. Less than half of the passes thrown his way are caught. That is unacceptable. You are a professional, man!
Now, Pettis did not play in the first two games – a result of his own misfortunes during the preseason. He was placed in the doghouse and hardly got playing time. Injuries sent Amendola and Salas down, and Pettis filled in. In his first game against Baltimore, Pettis made two catches for eight yards – hardly anything to celebrate. Against the Redskins, he made more of a presence, catching four balls for 32 yards. Pettis has not had a dropped pass this year, considering his preseason woes.
The rookies haven’t done their part, but neither have the veteran receivers on the squad. Brandon Gibson has two drops, but he does lead the team in catches (13) and catch rate (61.9). Mike Sims-Walker – aka Sky Walker, the coolest nickname ever – has one dropped catch but his catch rate is worse than Salas’ at 40.7 percent. DX has an even more disastrous catch rate at 34.8 percent.
If this offense is going to start clicking anytime soon, these main receivers have to step their game up. No excuses.