Monday, November 4, 2013
Rams looking to get Bailey more involved
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- As the fifth receiver in a group that goes four deep, receiver Stedman Bailey hasn't played much for the St. Louis Rams this season.
That's about to change. Nine games into his rookie season, Bailey got his first extended look with the offense at-large Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, playing 11 snaps with that group and picking up his first career catch. It was a 12-yarder in which he made a tough grab then found a way to scramble for five additional yards and move the chains for a first down to set up the Rams' first touchdown two plays later.
"It was a great play," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "He gets down, he's picking up extra yards."
It was good enough to earn Bailey an extra look, a look that's been more than half a season in the making and one that Fisher said will be implemented down the stretch.
When I asked Fisher about Bailey getting more involved against the Titans, I was only about halfway through the question before he enthusiastically offered that Bailey's workload would increase.
"And we're going to get him more involved," Fisher said. "His time is coming. He's improving on the practice field."
To this point, most of Bailey's work has come on special teams. Before Sunday, he'd played only four offensive snaps, all of those coming back in Week 2 against Atlanta. He hasn't lacked for special teams' work, though. He's a core special teams player, which means he plays on all four of the main units; kickoff coverage, punt coverage, kickoff return and punt return.
It's an area where Bailey has impressed Fisher and special teams coach John Fassel. Fisher said if Bailey plays more offense his time on special teams may have to be cut down a bit but let's face it, that would be a positive development for the Rams.
At this point, the Rams receiving corps has given them very little, unless you want to count the dozen drops the group has accumulated. While wide receiver is a much more difficult position to adjust to in the NFL than running back, the Rams have been rewarded by giving Zac Stacy his opportunity.
While it'd be illogical to expect Bailey to match Stacy's production, it certainly can't hurt to continue working him into the rotation and see if he can at least provide a stable, reliable option who can develop in the final seven games.