As the St. Louis Rams prepare for life without Danny Amendola, the team is waiting for one of its young pass catchers to step up and recoup his loss of production. There are plenty of capable candidates on the roster, but the player that should be the new check down option for quarterback Sam Bradford is tight end Lance Kendricks. That makes him a prime possibility to breakout as the Rams’ season kicks into overdrive.
Kendricks was a second round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and had a real lackluster performance in his rookie campaign. He compiled just 28 catches a year ago for 352 yards, but had zero touchdowns. The red zone is where the Rams really need him to shine. Last week he hauled in his first career touchdown grab and that may instill a new rapport between him and Bradford for the weeks ahead.
Without a reliable target that has Bradford’s confidence now that Amendola is sidelined, there will be a first come, first serve basis for who gets the most looks in the passing game. A tight end that can create separation like Kendricks can really become a useful option for all sorts of route combinations.
Due to injuries and lack of depth along the offensive line, Kendricks has been used more as a blocker this season. His Head Coach Jeff Fisher said: “His blocking, I think that goes unnoticed. But I was happy that he was able to make that (touchdown) catch. He made a big catch for us (against Seattle) to keep a drive alive down the middle part of the field, so he’s coming on. Rob (tight end coach Rob Boras) is working with him, doing a good job with him. It’s hard to take him off the field because of his ability.”
Those types of comments bode well for Kendricks finding an expanded role as the team looks to improve on its passing game without their top receiver. He was taken high in the draft because of his potential and this opening may just allow him to finally realize it.
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