A little more than three weeks ago, many St. Louis Rams fans were perplexed as to why Head Coach Jeff Fisher would deactivate rookie starters cornerback Janoris Jenkins and wide receiver Chris Givens prior to the game with the San Francisco 49ers. No information came out regarding what actually occurred to earn them a spot on the sideline in week 10, but plenty of growth has happened since that day for these two players in particular.
Several teams passed on Jenkins in April’s draft due to off-field concerns. In fact, despite ending up with Jenkins at the 39th overall selection, the Rams themselves passed on Jenkins four times if you include the team twice trading down in the first round. Unlike his character however, Jenkins’ potential on the field was not up for debate. His skill set has Pro Bowl written all over it and since the incident in San Francisco that has shined through.
In week 12 against the Arizona Cardinals, Jenkins had not one, but two interceptions returned for a touchdown to lead the Rams to victory. This past weekend he scored once again on a fumble recovery in the end zone. That gives Jenkins three scores in just two weeks which is more prolific than that of the Rams’ offense. There is plenty of reason for optimism that this is merely scratching the surface of his potential however moving forward.
Considered perhaps the fastest receiver prospect this past spring, Givens was exactly what the Rams needed on offense to open up room in the running game. His ability to take the top off of a defense is something that doesn’t come around very often and the team felt as if his potential in the fourth round was a must. That speed and athletic ability has been on display since he was sidelined by Fisher in San Francisco as well.
His week 12 showing was the first 100-yard game of Givens’ young career where he hauled in five catches for 115 yards including a diving touchdown grab. He followed that up this past weekend by setting yet another career-high, this time in catches as he snagged 11 balls from quarterback Sam Bradford for 92 yards as he was targeted 14 times in the game. Givens has shown nothing but growth all season long and the team expects that to continue into the future.
While coach Fisher’s disciplinarian approach may seem a bit dated in today’s NFL, it’s nice to see that players still respond to some tough love every now and then. With the resurrection that the Rams’ franchise has already seen in 2012, it seems safe to say that Fisher’s philosophy may just be starting to give fans a taste of what’s to come in his tenure as head coach.
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