Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Following up: Inside Rams' WR thinking
By Mike Sando
Ed from Lake Arrowhead, Calif., appreciates the updates from St. Louis Rams camp, but disagrees with my suggestion that the team should have considered adding Sidney Rice in free agency. Ed considers the Rams' talent at receiver underrated and points to all the bad money spent on receivers in free agency over the years.
Mike Sando: I've had a chance to speak with the Rams' decision makers on this subject since arriving for camp. A few factors were at work in steering the team toward essentially standing pat at the position:
- The draft: The Rams knew they weren't going to draft one of the first-round talents at the position once the Atlanta Falcons made a huge move up the draft board for Julio Jones. That was fine by the Rams. They were happy to add a pass-rusher.
- Josh McDaniels: The Rams' new offensive coordinator has valued versatility over narrowly focused dynamic talent for his system (a speed receiver, for example). Does that mean the Rams wouldn't find a way to use such a player? Of course not. But it does make the team less likely to spend lavishly on one in free agency. McDaniels hasn't been begging the Rams for fresh talent at the position. Like Ed, he thought the existing talent was underrated.
- History lesson: Receivers rely heavily on quarterbacks and offensive systems to get the ball in their hands. The right fit can be elusive when bringing in a receiver from a foreign system. That might help explain why receivers have sometimes struggled to meet expectations after signing lucrative deals in free agency. Sidney Rice was a lower-risk gamble for Seattle because his coordinator in Minnesota, Darrell Bevell, was the Seahawks' new coordinator. There would be strong carryover. Had Rice succeeded under McDaniels in Denver, perhaps the Rams would have approached him differently.
- Lance Kendricks: The Rams feel as though they found one of the draft's best playmakers for their system when they selected Kendricks from Wisconsin in the second round. So far, the Rams appears to have been right. Kendricks has been the most impressive rookie in camp and an immediate contributor in the preseason. He'll likely rank among the team leaders in receptions.
Hope that helps, Ed. I still think the Rams could have used more talent at the position, but I've also got a better appreciation for your point of view, which the Rams obviously share.
Current Rams receivers: Mike Sims-Walker, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis, Danario Alexander, Donnie Avery, Mardy Gilyard, Dominique Curry, Greg Mathews, Joe West, Jared Jenkins.