St. Louis Rams: Brian Quick

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams left tackle Jake Long and receiver Brian Quick recently had surgery for their injured knee and shoulder, respectively, coach Jeff Fisher confirmed Monday evening.

Long and Quick suffered their season-ending injuries against Kansas City on Oct. 26 against Kansas City, ailments that landed both of them on injured reserve. Both players had to wait a little bit before the surgery, but Fisher confirmed both operations have been done recently.

Long
For Long, it was a torn right ACL, the second such injury to the same knee in less than a year. Long has already begun the rehabilitation process, but Quick's road back from a torn rotator cuff, labrum, and other arm and shoulder issues will be a bit longer, according to Fisher.

"Jake is rehabbing, doing well," Fisher said. "I encouraged Brian to come out to practice. It’s going to be probably another week or two before he comes out. There was significant damage to his shoulder. However, he will recover 100 percent, but it’s going to be a slow process. It’s going to be a training camp thing.”

Fisher said that further examination of Quick's injuries revealed more problems than initially suspected, hence the longer projected recovery time.

“He did just about everything you possibly can to the shoulder," Fisher said. "You talk about rotator cuff, labrum, bicep tendon, just everything. It was a successful surgery, a successful procedure, but he’s going to be immobilized for quite some time.”

Quick had emerged as the Rams' top receiving target before the injury, setting career highs in receptions (25), receiving yards (375) and touchdowns (three) in a little more than six games.

Rams make more roster moves

October, 29, 2014
Oct 29
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams continued tweaking their roster and practice squad Wednesday afternoon.

After placing receiver Brian Quick on injured reserve with a season-ending shoulder ailment, the Rams promoted offensive lineman Brandon Washington from the practice squad to the active roster.

An additional offensive lineman is a necessity this week after left tackle Jake Long's season ended with another torn ACL and center Scott Wells and guard Rodger Saffold are also dealing with injuries. Washington has spent time bouncing between the practice squad and active roster before, spending 10 games on the roster last year between practice squad tenures.

As for the practice squad, the Rams added tight end Justice Cunningham, offensive lineman Travis Bond and receiver Emory Blake and made the signing of offensive tackle Steven Baker official. Cunningham, Bond and Blake all have been with the Rams for various stints in the past.

The Rams still have one practice squad spot available, a spot expected to go to quarterback Case Keenum if he clears waivers.

The active roster is now full at 53 players but the Rams have only four wideouts on it currently. They could look to add another at some point with former Titans and Dolphins receiver Damian Williams a name to keep an eye on.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the St. Louis Rams' 34-7 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs:

Long
Walking wounded: For much of Sunday's game, it seemed the Rams couldn't go without suffering an injury every couple of plays. By the time the day was done, the Rams lost center Scott Wells (elbow), offensive tackle Jake Long (knee), guard Rodger Saffold (shoulder), receiver Brian Quick (arm) and safeties Cody Davis (concussion) and Rodney McLeod (knee). None returned after departing, and end William Hayes also left the locker room on crutches.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher offered no specific updates on any of the players but acknowledged that some of the injured would "miss some time."

Mishit kick: Fisher said kicker Greg Zuerlein's short kickoff to open the second half was a result of a mishit ball. The ball was not supposed to be a line drive. Instead, it was supposed to be high and angled to the left corner. But Zuerlein didn't hit it as he was supposed to and Kansas City returner Knile Davis took it 99 yards for a touchdown. Fisher also expressed disappointment in Zuerlein's miss on a 38-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter.

Governor's appearance: There has been speculation about the Rams' future in St. Louis, and some of that has centered on the efforts of Gov. Jay Nixon to help keep the team in the state. Nixon was spotted walking through the corridor near the Rams locker room after the game.

Rams keep it clean on way to win

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- For all that goes into every game in the NFL on a weekly basis, there are always a few small things that can be done to greatly influence the outcome.

Those small things -- penalties and turnovers -- become amplified if a team doesn't perform up to par in those areas. The St. Louis Rams know all about the effect of failing in the small details, losing four of their first five games in part because of their continued failings there.

So it was no coincidence Sunday when the Rams pulled out a 28-26 victory against the Seattle Seahawks that they finally found a way not to make the continued critical errors that have cost them games in the first part of the season.

“Well, yeah, as long as we're not hurting ourselves and creating negative field position and things like that, we’re OK," coach Jeff Fisher said.

What the Rams offered Sunday was a surprising victory on many levels, including a closer examination of the details.

The Rams entered Sunday's game 20th in the league in penalties (43) and 28th in penalty yards (425). That trend has plagued them since Fisher's arrival in St. Louis in 2012, as they were the most penalized team in the league over the past two years.

After receiver Brian Quick appeared to throw a punch at Seahawks cornerback Tharold Simon early in Sunday's game to draw a 15-yard penalty deep in Seattle territory, it appeared the Rams were on their way to another sloppy, penalty-plagued performance.

But the Rams found a way to course correct, drawing just one more penalty the rest of the day, and even that was a delay of game penalty the team took on purpose. Seattle, meanwhile, drew costly penalty after costly penalty on its way to 10 flags for 89 yards. The plus-69-yard penalty margin was the Rams' first positive margin of the season and their best margin of the Fisher era in St. Louis.

Beyond that, the Rams did not turn the ball over for the first time in a game this season and did not allow a sack for just the second time in 2014. They even added three sacks of their own on defense and consistently generated pressure on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

There's nothing fancy about any of those numbers, but they're certainly part of a recipe for success -- a recipe the Rams know they must duplicate if they're going to build on Sunday's win.

“I think that’s how you win games in the NFL," quarterback Austin Davis said. "I think it’s something that we need to watch and figure out how to repeat week to week. The turnovers and the penalties and some of those things have been what’s holding us back. We feel like we’re a good team and keep progressing, but those things have really plagued us. We found a way to play a clean game tonight, and it gave us a chance to win and we ultimately pulled it out.”

Rams-Eagles: Matchup breakdown

October, 4, 2014
Oct 4
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- A look at three individual matchups to keep an eye on when the St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles meet Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Rams wide receiver Brian Quick vs. Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher

Quick
Originally drafted by the Rams, the 6-foot, 196-pound Fletcher earned a reputation in St. Louis for his knack for racking up interference penalties. Now in Philadelphia, Fletcher has been solid in run support but had some bumps along the way in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Fletcher has allowed 18 catches on 38 targets, a solid performance, but he's also been victimized for some big plays. He gave up two touchdowns in week 3 against Washington. He's also been penalized three times for a total of 20 yards, with a pair of illegal contact flags.

Quick, meanwhile, has continued building on the best start of his career. He has 16 catches for 235 yards and a touchdown in the Rams' three games and is already closing in on his total production from 2013. He has consistently showed up in the opening weeks and has developed a strong rapport with quarterback Austin Davis, who hasn't been afraid to get it to Quick down the field.

It's unlikely Quick and Fletcher will matchup for the entirety of the game but they should see plenty of each other through the course of the game.

Rams punter Johnny Hekker vs. Eagles punt returner Darren Sproles

The Rams have seen their share of dynamic returners in recent years but as they watched the Eagles on the bye week, there was nothing scarier than what the Eagles were able to do to the 49ers on special teams. Heading up the challenge is Sproles, the mighty mite returner who remains one of the most dangerous players in the league with the ball in his hands. Sproles is averaging 15.38 yards per punt return, good for third in the league, after returning one 83 yards for a touchdown against the 49ers.

Keeping Sproles contained will fall on the shoulders of the Rams' punt team but specifically Hekker, who built a reputation for neutralizing returners in 2013 with his strong directional skills. Surprisingly, Hekker has only punted nine times this year, which is tied for last in the league. But he's been effective again when given the chance. His net average of 43.89 yards per punt is fourth in the league.

Hekker and Co. will have to be at the top of their game to ensure Sproles doesn't make the type of game-changing plays he's made a habit of in his career.

Hayes
Rams defensive end William Hayes vs. Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson

After serving a four-game suspension, Johnson finally returns to an offensive line in desperate need of stability. Through four games, the Eagles have used 10 offensive linemen and three different starting combinations. Johnson is expected to jump back into his spot on the right side, with Todd Herremans moving back inside to right guard. In theory, that should help the Eagles at two positions, but that's assuming Johnson has knocked the rust off this week in practice.

Getting back in football shape isn't easy, though, as Hayes can attest. After a series of offseason surgeries, Hayes has spent the first three weeks rounding back into form. Hayes showed signs of being back to his usual self when it comes to setting the edge in the run game against Dallas but he has yet to get going in terms of pass rush in place of Chris Long.

This would be the kind of game where Long could feast but without him, the Rams will turn to Hayes, Eugene Sims and Ethan Westbrooks to make Johnson's return a difficult one.

Rams-Cowboys: Matchup breakdown

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20
8:00
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- A look at three matchups to keep an eye on when the St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys meet Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald vs. Cowboys right guard Zack Martin

Martin
Kampman
Donald
Although his snaps have been limited as part of a rotation, Donald quietly has been the disruptive force the Rams hoped they were getting when they drafted him No. 13 overall in May's draft. According to the coaches' review of the film, Donald has 12 tackles, including four for loss, in the first two games.

While Donald has the ability to move around the line and might not see a lot of Martin, it's likely their paths will cross at some point in Sunday's game. For those that don't remember, if Donald had been off the board when the Rams picked at No. 13, Martin likely would have been the choice. In fact, Rams coach Jeff Fisher openly acknowledged the team's efforts to trade back into the first round to land Martin.

In his first two weeks, Martin has had some ups and downs. For what it's worth, Pro Football Focus' evaluations show Martin has done well in pass protection but struggled as a run blocker.

At the Senior Bowl in January, Martin was the only lineman in Mobile who was able to stand up to Donald in pass-rush drills. If they get a chance to do it again, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in a battle of two of the most technically polished players in this year's draft.

Rams wide receiver Brian Quick vs. Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne

Claiborne
Quick
It's only been two games, but it's hard to deny that Quick has looked like the player the Rams hoped he'd be entering his third season in the league. He leads the team with 14 catches for 173 yards and, aside from a drop on a deep ball against Tampa Bay last Sunday, has been the picture of consistency in the first two games. Quick has a chance to surpass his numbers from 2013 in just three games with just a decent day against the Cowboys.

On the other side, Quick figures to get his fill of both Claiborne and fellow starter Brandon Carr, neither of whom has impressed much in the first two weeks. Interestingly enough, Dallas made a draft-day deal with the Rams for in 2012 to secure Claiborne. The Rams ended up with defensive tackle Michael Brockers in that trade.

Neither Claiborne nor Quick has lived up to their draft position to this point, but the arrow is certainly pointing up on Quick right now while Claiborne has struggled. Another big day for Quick would be a welcomed development for a Rams offense that got nothing going against Dallas last year.

Rams offensive line vs. Cowboys defensive line

So we're going to cheat a little bit here and not just focus on one matchup on the line. Hey, at least we're not going with Robert Quinn vs. Tyron Smith, though that will be a fun matchup to watch. The reason for going line vs. line here is because it's hard to erase from memory the thrashing the Cowboys gave the Rams up front in last year's meeting.

But things should be different this time. DeMarcus Ware has moved on to Denver and Jason Hatcher is now creating havoc for the Washington Redskins. Those two were primarily responsible for the wreckage done to the Rams last year, especially Ware against left tackle Jake Long.

Although Dallas doesn't have the same big names, it has gotten pretty solid production from a group led by defensive tackle Henry Melton. Left guard Rodger Saffold will have his hands full with Melton and ends Tyrone Crawford and Jeremy Mincey have consistently created pressure in the first two games.

Brian Quick more comfortable than ever

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
2:00
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brian Quick was one of the team's most pleasant surprises during training camp and the preseason.

Finally able to string together a series of strong practice outings and find some much-needed consistency, Quick looked the part of the receiver the Rams thought they were getting when they drafted him with the first pick of the second round of the 2012 NFL draft. But performing in shoulder pads and shorts and doing it in games are two very different things.

[+] EnlargeQuick
AP Photo/Bob LeveroneRams receiver Brian Quick says he understands his assignments better this season.
So when Quick was able to carry over what he was doing in practice to the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, it was the most encouraging sign yet that Quick has what it takes to be a solid contributor at the NFL level.

"Coming out here every day and playing fast definitely makes it easier for me," Quick said. "But that’s the biggest thing is translating it to the field from practice."

Quick's work in practice translated into career highs in catches (seven) and yards (99). To the top receivers in the league, that's an average week's worth of work, but nobody is putting those type of expectations on Quick. Instead, the Rams would like him to be a consistent performer who can be reliable in the passing game and use his 6-foot-3, 218-pound frame to provide stout run blocking on the perimeter.

Aside from a facemask penalty that appeared to be more bad luck than anything, Quick was the lone real bright spot for the Rams' offense in the loss to Minnesota.

"I was encouraged," coach Jeff Fisher said. "Brian came on. He made every catch. The only thing that he could improve was the facemask penalty. He’s learned from that. But, he was very productive. Made different types of catches, contested catches -- the third down catch where we ended up fourth and 1 and a half was a good catch, it was a good concentration effort."

Indeed, Quick's production wasn't some shallow numbers grab coming after the game was already out of hand. He caught a 23-yard pass from quarterback Shaun Hill on the game's first play and went on to post 70 yards on four catches in the first half. Simply put, Quick looked as comfortable as he has ever looked on an NFL field, and in turn looked like he belonged.

So what has been the difference? Quick points to the amount of time it took him to learn an NFL offense and route tree after entering the league from tiny Appalachian State. There, Quick played in a rudimentary offense that asked little of him in terms of route running and understanding defenses.

"That was the biggest adjustment was coming in and learning the playbook," Quick said. "It kept me from playing fast, but now that I really feel that I’m dialed in and I can move fast and know the plays, that’s what I’m feeling."

It has also helped Quick's cause that he has entered the season as a starter and knows that he is going to get consistent reps in practice and plenty of snaps in games. Where Quick often found himself thinking through plays as they were happening, he now says he is doing things naturally.

"Sitting on the sideline, not getting reps and then getting in a close game and going in, it’s kind of hard to adjust," Quick said. "But now being a starter and going in, I’m doing the best I can playing fast and knowing the offense. It’s a lot easier for me."

Of course, Quick must now turn his consistent practice performances into consistent game performances. The rapport he had with Hill was obvious in the first half last week, but if Hill is unable to play this week because of a quad injury, Quick will have to adjust to working with backup Austin Davis.

In addition, Quick might have been able to take Minnesota by surprise in the first week, but Tampa Bay will be well aware of him in the second. Last season, we saw tight end Jared Cook open with a big performance then disappear for long stretches of time.

The onus falls on Quick to continue to find ways to get open and make plays.

"I’m playing faster and not thinking," Quick said. "That’s a big change for me. I am just playing fast."

Morning Ram-blings: A fantasy sleeper?

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
8:00
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Week 1 in the NFL always offers a few surprises in terms of fantasy production. Players come out of nowhere and post big weeks and fantasy players rush to the waiver wire to pick them up.

Some of those players go on to be difference makers throughout the season. Others peak in the first week never to be heard from again.

Quick
But there's one St. Louis Ram who is actually drawing some buzz in the fantasy community despite his team's dreadful showing in the opener against the Minnesota Vikings.

On Monday afternoon, ESPN Insider Matt Williamson put together a list of those players who could still be on the waiver wire and who he believes can help your fantasy team. One such player is Rams wide receiver Brian Quick. Quick had seven catches for 99 yards against the Vikings and was the one player on the Rams offense who offered real hope for a productive season.

As Williamson is quick to point out, there's not a whole lot of reliability with any Rams right now for fantasy purposes. I do agree with him that Quick's opening outing was promising, especially since he performed so well in camp then translated it to the field with the real games underway.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Monday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we began the day with a look at Rams running back Zac Stacy and his fantasy positioning after one game. ... Next, we got Rams coach Jeff Fisher's thoughts on the punishment for Baltimore running back Ray Rice. ... From there, we discussed the Vikings' success with jet sweeps and toss sweeps and what the Rams can learn from those plays. ... The Rams hit the bottom of this week's Power Rankings. ... Finally, we looked at running back Tre Mason and safety Maurice Alexander's status as week 1 inactives.

Elsewhere:

Speaking of fantasy and Stacy, ESPN's Matthew Berry offers some names to worry about moving forward.

Always worth a read from NFL Nation columnist Kevin Seifert is his weekly quarterback report.

At 101sports.com, Anthony Stalter writes the Rams lack creativity.

At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas participated in his weekly chat.

Thomas provides his take on the Shaun Hill injury situation.
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- We introduced a new feature on NFL Nation Sunday, one that should offer a quick snapshot on the league's top performers each week for those who might be trying to catch up. Or even if you're looking to see who stood out in fantasy that week.

So each Monday, we'll be sure to offer the aggregate of our game balls from Sunday in one place for you to peruse. Each of our 32 NFL Nation reporters chose one player (or coach as the case may be) to give a game ball to for his performance.

As you can see from both my Rapid Reaction and this chart, I gave mine to receiver Brian Quick for his seven catches and 99 yards against the Vikings. It was a rough day for the Rams in general, but Quick was one of the few bright spots in the loss.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Sunday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... We offered some quick thoughts from the team's loss to Minnesota in the first edition of Rapid Reaction for the season. ... Next, we offered some observations from the locker room right after the game, featuring an update on quarterback Shaun Hill. ... From there, Vikings reporter Ben Goessling and I hand out some game balls for Sunday's matchup. ... We then looked at how the Rams' offense is going to struggle if it can't run the ball. ... We then offered the feelings of embarrassment and disappointment in the Rams' locker room. ... Finally, we offered a health update on DE Chris Long's injured ankle.

Elsewhere:

The Seahawks showed they are still a force to be reckoned with on Thursday night but the San Francisco 49ers had a similar result Sunday.

Goessling writes that receiver Cordarrelle Patterson shined brightest for the Vikings against the Rams.

At stltoday.com, Jeff Gordon says the Rams set an ominous tone for the season with their performance in the opener.

Gordon also offered his grades and needless to say, they weren't pretty.

Jim Thomas recaps the day's festivities.

Rapid Reaction: St. Louis Rams

September, 7, 2014
Sep 7
4:02
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ST. LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 34-6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at the Edward Jones Dome.

What it means: Put simply, it could be a really long season in St. Louis. Without starting quarterback Sam Bradford (out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee), the offense sputtered to levels commensurate with some of the team's leanest years in St. Louis. The defense was on the field too much and the penalty issues of the past two years remain. Starting the season with a loss at home to what looked to be a beatable opponent doesn't bode well for a team that faces the league's third-toughest schedule (based on last year's results).

Stock watch: Down -- the offense. Nobody expected fireworks from this group, but for a group that was supposed to provide power running and opportunities to get chunks of yards on play-action, this was about as discouraging a performance as you'll find. Shaun Hill left at halftime with a thigh injury and Austin Davis took over, but neither had much success behind an offensive line offering little protection and a run game mostly stuck in the mud. This unit finished with 318 yards, most of which came in garbage time.

Quarterback quandary: Hill got off to a good start with a 23-yard completion on the first offensive play of the game, but it got no better from there. His interception to Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson at the end of the first half was abysmal, and it allowed the Vikings to score the game's first touchdown. That 13-0 halftime hole was far too much to overcome with or without Hill, who was replaced by Davis. Davis got some game experience and managed some completions with the game out of hand but had nothing more than a pair of field goals to show for it.

Game ball: Receiver Brian Quick. Pickings were incredibly slim here, regardless of which side of the ball you look at. But he was the lone bright spot on the offense, carrying his strong preseason into the opening regular-season game and finishing with seven catches for 99 yards. The third-year wideout at least flashed the promise of better things ahead, which is more than can be said for most of the offense.

What's next: Things don't get much easier for the Rams next week as they travel to what should be a hot and humid Tampa, Florida, to take on the Bucs.

Observation Deck: St. Louis Rams

August, 24, 2014
Aug 24
12:02
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CLEVELAND -- If possible, the score of the St. Louis Rams' preseason meeting with the Cleveland Browns has even less meaning than an average exhibition contest.

The Rams (1-2 in preseason) dominated in a 33-14 win, but the victory is about as hollow as possible considering what occurred in the first half. The first 30 minutes turned the team's starters into something resembling a MASH unit.

Quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a left knee injury with a little more than eight minutes to go in the first quarter and did not return. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that initial tests did not reveal any further damage to Bradford's surgically repaired ACL, but Bradford will have more tests in the next 24 hours. Rams coach Jeff Fisher indicated after the game that it could be a hyperextended knee.

Had it stopped there, it would have been bad enough, but four other starters left the game with injuries and did not return. Defensive tackle Kendall Langford (ankle), cornerback Trumaine Johnson (knee), defensive tackle Michael Brockers (ankle) and guard Rodger Saffold (ankle) also departed early. Early indications on those injuries are that Saffold and Langford were taken out more as a precaution. Johnson's looked to be the worst after he took a helmet to the left knee and a cart took him to the locker room.

Some more thoughts and observations from Saturday's game:
  • It was a rough go for left tackle Jake Long in his first game back. He picked up a penalty for hands to the face and struggled on two plays that led to Bradford getting hit. Obviously, he's got some rust to knock off but it was a potentially damaging sequence.
  • Wideout Brian Quick has put together the best training camp of his young career and has now carried that momentum into two consecutive preseason games. He finished with four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown and was clearly Bradford's favorite target. Time will tell if he can do it when the games count, but the Rams have to be encouraged by his consistency in camp and preseason.
  • Hard to fathom why, after the injuries to Bradford, Saffold and Langford, the Rams still had the starting defense on the field when Johnson and Brockers were hurt.
  • Receiver Chris Givens has been awfully quiet in this preseason to the point that he's not playing at all with the starters. But Givens offered a reminder of why he's a piece worth keeping around with an impressive 75-yard catch and run for a touchdown. He added a nice catch on a crossing route for a gain of 19 earlier on the drive.
  • Defensive end Michael Sam came up with his second sack in as many games, dropping Johnny Manziel with a little more than 10 minutes to go. Best I can tell, Twitter is still functional. Barely.
  • Rookie offensive lineman Greg Robinson did not start against the Browns after doing so in each of the first two games. Moving back and forth between left guard and left tackle has left him struggling to settle in. Rodger Saffold started at left guard with Davin Joseph at right guard, but that doesn't mean that's how it will be when the season starts. With the rest of the line healthy and in place, expect the Rams to try to get Robinson settled in at left guard moving forward.
  • Linebacker James Laurinaitis (ankle) did some work in practice this week but the Rams clearly didn't want to push him and he sat this one out. Fellow linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar also didn't play.
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Looking for help for your fantasy teams beyond the outstanding work of Matthew Berry and his crew?

Well, NFL Nation offered a little one-stop shopping into deeper skill position battles at each and every training camp Friday afternoon.

Each of our NFL Nation reporters provided a quick take on a battle taking place at one of the skill positions, who is leading said battle and how it could play out over the rest of the preseason and training camp.

Obviously, I handled the St. Louis Rams portion and went with wide receiver. The reality is that the Rams seem pretty well set on starters at most positions, not just the skill spots. But receiver has been in the most flux since the beginning of camp with Kenny Britt and Brian Quick emerging and Chris Givens and Austin Pettis falling.

And, of course, Stedman Bailey figures prominently when he returns from suspension. The Rams continue to say that they'll use all of their wideouts but my expectation for Week 1 at this point is that Britt, Quick and Tavon Austin will get the most opportunities when they kick off against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 7.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Friday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we opened the day with a look at a "what if" scenario from a suggestion by ESPN's Bill Polian. ... Next, we looked at the imminent return of left tackle Jake Long next week against Cleveland. ... From there, we delved into the return to health of some of the Rams' key components at cornerback. ... Finally, we offered a look at the plan for quarterback Sam Bradford against Green Bay.

Elsewhere:

ESPN's Jane McManus reports that the NFL is expected to toughen its standards on domestic violence.

Good read as always from columnist Kevin Seifert, who cautions not to worry too much about increased penalties around the league.

At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas examines the health of a number of Rams working back from injury.

Joe Lyons catches up with rookie linebacker Aaron Hill in his weekly diary.

Fox Sports' Alex Marvez takes his turn at discussing the importance of this season for Bradford.
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Since it's officially a game week -- albeit a preseason game -- the St. Louis Rams released their first unofficial depth chart of the season Monday afternoon.

The operative word here is unofficial, and that must be kept in mind with all parts of what I'm about to write here. Some of the following seem to match up with what the Rams are doing on the practice field and some of it doesn't. Either way, take it with the proper dose of salt knowing that there are a few things that always factor in.

For example, in most cases, veterans or returning players get the benefit of the doubt over rookies. Some rookies may be playing more with the first or second team than they are listed here, but for now, they are still being asked to earn promotions.

With all of that said, here are a few things that stood out on the Rams' first unofficial depth chart of the 2014 season:

 • While the vast majority of the starter spots are accounted for, wide receiver was one place where shuffling seemed possible, if not likely. Sure enough, there's a different look there than what was expected entering camp. Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin are listed as the starters with Brian Quick and Stedman Bailey as the second-teamers. This mostly lines up with how reps are divvied up on the practice field right now, and those four have been the team's best wideouts in this camp. Chris Givens, who was once presumed a starter, is now listed as part of the third team along with Austin Pettis. While this is unofficial, this is one spot where it seems there's truth in advertising.

• The offensive line is as expected with Greg Robinson listed as the starting left guard along with Jake Long at left tackle, Scott Wells at center, Rodger Saffold at right guard and Joe Barksdale at right tackle. No surprises there. The depth behind that group will be a more interesting tale. Mike Person is listed as second team at left guard, a position he's been playing in camp after working mostly at tackle. The Rams have plenty to sort out here, and it's also worth noting that Tim Barnes is the No. 2 center with Barrett Jones at No. 3 right now.

• There doesn't appear to be any real competition to Zac Stacy for the starting running back job. The real battle is how things will shake out behind him. Right now, Benny Cunningham is listed second with Isaiah Pead and Chase Reynolds third and Tre Mason and Trey Watts fourth. Stacy and Cunningham have certainly looked like the top two. Mason behind Pead and Reynolds seems to be one of those veterans over rookie spots mentioned earlier.

• The quarterback group offers another veteran over rookie exception with Austin Davis listed third and rookie Garrett Gilbert fourth. Gilbert has been getting more reps than Davis on a consistent basis and even taken reps with the second team. Barring some major changes, Gilbert is the likely third quarterback, assuming the Rams keep one.

• The defense offers little in the way of surprises. The starting 11 is as expected unless you thought Aaron Donald would be listed as a starter. The rookie is listed as second team behind Michael Brockers but none of that matters much with the defensive line anyway. Their top eight should all play and play quite a bit.

• The battle for backup spots at linebacker and in the secondary has a long way to go to gain clarity. For what it's worth, Brandon McGee and E.J. Gaines are listed as the primary backups at cornerback with Cody Davis and Maurice Alexander in backup roles at safety. Phillip Steward, Daren Bates and Ray-Ray Armstrong are the three backup linebackers. One interesting note is that Lamarcus Joyner is listed as the No. 3 free safety rather than a cornerback. But Joyner is getting most of his work as the nickel corner. Yet another example of why the term unofficial is important when going through exercises such as these.

• The Rams open the preseason Friday night against New Orleans at the Edward Jones Dome, offering all players on the depth chart a prime opportunity to change their standing for next week.

Rams Camp Report: Day 5

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
8:15
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of St. Louis Rams training camp:
  • The Rams put the shoulder pads on for the first time in this training camp Tuesday afternoon and it resulted in a little bit more of an even playing field. After the top defense dominated the first-team offense for much of the opening days of camp, the addition of pads got the offense some traction. Quarterback Sam Bradford had what looked like his best practice of camp as he frequently connected on passes down the field. The primary recipient? Receiver Brian Quick. Quick is off to a good start in this camp and only built on that start with Tuesday's work. Bradford and Quick hooked up a couple of times on deep balls in early team drills and then Quick brought even more cheers when he caught another deep ball from rookie quarterback Garrett Gilbert later on. Bradford also hit receiver Kenny Britt for about a 40-yard touchdown deep down the right sideline as Britt got behind cornerback Brandon McGee. That play elicited the biggest cheers of the day.
  • One thing that needs to be cleaned up early on is pre-snap penalties. So far, both sides of the ball have been guilty of jumping early. In many places, you'd allow for the benefit of the doubt since it's so early in camp, but the Rams have been persistent penalty magnets in the two years under coach Jeff Fisher and many of the infractions can be attributed to veteran players who should be past such mistakes. There isn't necessarily one player in particular jumping early, which might make it more frustrating for Fisher and his staff since it can be harder to rein in a team-wide issue.
  • Progress is coming for defensive end William Hayes, offensive tackle Jake Long and center Scott Wells. All three have been participating in some individual work early in practice and Hayes and Wells, in particular, look to be close to a return. Hayes said after practice he had a couple of offseason procedures, though the nature of his injuries are unknown. Wells' injuries are also unknown at this point but none of that will matter much if they get back on the field soon. For what it's worth, Hayes says this is as good as he's felt since his second year in the league. That was 2009.
  • A few developments of note at running back. Zac Stacy continues to get most of the work with the first team, but Tre Mason got a few reps Tuesday afternoon and Benny Cunningham is finding his way onto the field some as well. Isaiah Pead sat out the practice and was wearing what appeared to be a cast on his right hand.
  • Some special guests were in the house Tuesday, including the bulk of the University of Missouri football coaches. Defensive end Michael Sam, cornerback E.J. Gaines, receiver T.J. Moe and center Tim Barnes spent some time with the staff after practice and Sam said it was good to see the group. Former Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage also took in the workout.

Time to produce: WR Brian Quick

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
12:00
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As the St. Louis Rams prepare to enter their third training camp under coach Jeff Fisher, much will hinge on the ability of the team's many young players to turn potential into production. In this final week before camp officially begins, we take a look at some players who must take the next step either to preserve their jobs, help the team reach its first winning record since 2003 or, to the team's preference, both.

Quick
We begin this week-long series with wide receiver Brian Quick.

What he's done: The Rams spent the first pick of the second round in the 2012 NFL draft on the raw but talented wideout from Appalachian State. Quick has tantalized on the practice field with his combination of size and speed but has been unable to consistently turn that into production. In two seasons, Quick has appeared in 31 games with 29 catches for 458 yards and four touchdowns. Rams quarterbacks have targeted Quick 61 times in those games. To his credit, the 6-foot-3, 218-pound receiver has become a solid blocker in the run game but that has probably been his greatest contribution thus far.

Why he must do more: There was little doubt that Quick would take some time to develop upon arriving in St. Louis. He was far from a polished product when he got to St. Louis after playing at a small school with little experience running the NFL route tree or playing in a pro-style offense. But the Rams spent a valuable pick on Quick with other, more accomplished receivers on the board and did so despite the need for more production at the position. They did it based largely on an impressive private workout in the pre-draft process. They've been patient with Quick, hoping that he would break out further into his career much like Tampa Bay's Vincent Jackson, who profiled similar to Quick when he came into the league. It's now Quick's third season and the time for talking about his development is about over. The Rams need production from their receiver group, regardless of who it is. Given his draft position and potential, Quick making the leap forward would be a welcome sight.

Where he fits: Quick is one of about six receivers on the roster who figure to make the 53-man roster, but this training camp should offer a fairly open competition for how those wideouts fit on the depth chart. Chris Givens and Tavon Austin seem poised for large roles in the offense but there is still plenty of room for Quick to step in and stake his claim to an expanded role. It's folly to expect Quick's step forward to result in a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown season or something close to that but if he could exceed his combined career numbers in the 2014 season and still provide solid run blocking on the edge, he'd at least become a valuable contributor with solid footing for the future. If Quick is unable to do much more than he has in his first two seasons, it's fair to wonder where he fits long term.

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