The St. Louis Rams lost to the Dallas Cowboys 20-19 in their third preseason outing of the year, but the score doesn’t really mean much without some back story. Youth will be a huge determining factor in just how well the team fares on offense in 2012, and the wide receiver position is a prime example of why.
Of the Rams’ current receiving group, there aren’t any players with more than a handful of seasons of experience in the league. Against the Cowboys, that really showed up as they Dallas secondary locked down the wideouts for the St Louis Rams and made the passing game look somewhat sloppy. Quarterback Sam Bradford acknowledged this himself, as he said: “I think today was probably our worst performance in the games we’ve had so far.But we’re still pretty vanilla. We really haven’t shown much. We didn’t really game plan for Dallas, but that’s not an excuse.”
Bradford was just 6 of 17 for 64 yards in the game and had trouble finding open receivers all night. According to his Head Coach Jeff Fisher: “He missed a couple, and then he got hit too much.” And that is one of the primary concerns for the Rams looking ahead to the regular season. Bradford was beaten up during the 2011 campaign and in order for he and the Rams to have a bounce back this year, protection will be vital to their success.
The Rams youthful receivers were basically taken out of the game by the Dallas corners as well with free agent signing Brandon Carr and first round pick Morris Claiborne giving the team very little room to work with. No pass catcher in particular was able to stand out from the rest as no receiver caught more than one ball during the course of the entire game.
There may be high expectations for a second round pick like Brian Quick coming in as a rookie, but the learning curve is steeper than it may appear. Fourth round pick Chris Givens and free agent acquisition Steve Smith add some different elements to the team’s group of receivers, but there is a lot of work to be done if the offense hopes to avoid sputtering when the real games begin.
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