Morning Ram-blings: Getting the drop

December, 7, 2013
12/07/13
8:00
AM ET
ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens' completion percentage of 51.7 is right in line with his career number in that regard but in reality, this year's number should probably be higher than it is.

Clemens
That's because the problems Rams pass catchers had with drops early in the season resurfaced in a big way last week against San Francisco. ESPN Stats & Information had the Rams down for four drops in that game, including key misses by receiver Chris Givens and tight end Jared Cook. Film review reveals a couple of other catchable passes that should have been hauled in.

That came on the heels of a performance against Chicago in which the Rams registered their first game of the season without a drop. Clearly, those games are more the exception than the rule for Rams' receivers, tight ends and running backs.

For the season, the Rams have dropped 7.6 percent of their targets, tied with Detroit for the most in the NFL. The Rams had the fourth highest percentage in 2012. The Rams' 30 drops for the year trail only the Lions' 37.

"I think as a whole group we can all catch the ball a little bit better, make some of the tough catches for 'Kell,'" offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said.

Indeed, though Cook and Givens were the primary guilty parties last week, the drop problem is a universal one. The Stats & Info numbers have the receivers down for 13 miscues, 12 for the tight ends and five more for the running backs. Cook has the most with seven and Tavon Austin is next with six. Among receivers, only rookie Stedman Bailey doesn't have a drop though he has also had the fewest chances.

In fairness to the receivers, Clemens' lack of accuracy hasn't helped correct the issue but it existed even with the more accurate Sam Bradford at quarterback. If anything, it's even more imperative for the Rams' pass catchers to haul in the passes that are catchable with Clemens under center given his tendency to miss.

Clemens has continued to offer support to his receivers despite the drops and has openly acknowledged his need to be on target more often, particularly on some of his deeper throws.

"The only thing that I've said is drops are going to happen," Clemens said. "You're not going to catch all of them. That's just part of the game. It happens. I haven't lost a bit of confidence in any of these guys and we'll get back going. It's one game. I think sometimes people have a tendency to overreact to either drops or to losses, poor performance by the quarterback. We'll get back in the saddle this week and get back to it."

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Friday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... The day began with the Ram-blings and a look at Barrett Jones and his state of readiness to serve as the primary backup at center. ... Next, it was this week's edition of Double Coverage as Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss and I discuss Sunday's matchup. ... From there, we explored the improvement of Arizona and how it has the Rams in danger of falling to fourth in the ultra-competitive NFC West division. ... Finally, in Friday's injury report, we examined the probable return of left tackle Jake Long from a concussion only a week after suffering the injury.

Elsewhere:

Redskins reporter John Keim and Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher preview Sunday's Redskins-Chiefs game, a game Rams fans are sure to have an eye on.

Stltoday.com offers an update on the Rams' stadium situation with the news that the local Convention and Visitors Commission will pay the Rams' legal costs from their recent arbitration.

Columnists Bernie Miklasz and Bryan Burwell discuss the idea of the Rams drafting a quarterback.

Jim Thomas points out that the Rams are facing another top defense this week against Arizona.

At Fox Sports Midwest, Nate Latsch previews Sunday's matchup.

Turf Show Times examines the Rams' role in the eventual dismissal of coach Gary Kubiak.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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