The St. Louis Rams have experienced a lot of ups and downs with their young receivers. They have avoided signing free agent veterans opting instead to build their receivers through the draft in an attempt to surround now injured quarterback Sam Bradford with talent. Last offseason the biggest free agent receiver was Mike Wallace who opted to sign with the Miami Dolphins for five years, $60 million. St. Louis could have made a run at proven veteran, but their salary cap limitations pushed them away. They also opted to let their former leading receiver Brandon Gibson go, and he ended up signing with the Dolphins for three years, $9.755 million.
Gibson has 29 catches for 322 yards on the season for Miami. He was the Rams’ best option for three years making big catches in crucial situations. He was also the target of a lot of scrutiny in St. Louis for his mental lapses that resulted in drops or running the wrong routes. Gibson made several acrobatic catches when he donned the Rams blue and gold, but it was his knack for dropping the easy catches that made him expendable to the Rams. His 29 catches this year would be tied with Tavon Austin for the team lead if he were still a Ram. So far in the 2013 season Gibson has 29 catches on 42 targets for an average of 11.1 yards a catch, a long of 46 yards, two touchdowns, and only one drop. Were he still a Ram, only one drop would be an amazing stat for a team that has struggled to hang onto catches. His 11.1 yards per catch would be second on the team trailing only Jared Cook for players with 20 or more catches. In his last season as a Ram Gibson caught five touchdown passes from Bradford, but the Rams opted to replace him with younger, cheaper talent.
They are experiencing the same headaches with their new receivers. Brian Quick was drafted as project last year. The Rams knew that and so should the fans. He has progressed greatly in two years gaining more playing time by the week this season. He is on a learning curve though. He has gained more trust from head coach Jeff Fisher this season, and he has made some big plays for St. Louis this year. His 73-yard catch against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday helped set up Zac Stacy‘s first career touchdown. He also had a key touchdown before St. Louis put away the Houston Texans in Week 6. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars he hauled in a 28-yard reception that helped seal the victory. However, he seems to fail on some plays that are costly to the team. Against Carolina he dropped a touchdown pass that drilled him in the hands and could have been a difference maker before things got out of hand. On a play against Houston, Quick ran the wrong route and failed to turn around to receive a pass from a rushed Bradford only to have it hit him between the numbers. He also failed to haul in a slightly underthrown jump ball against the San Francisco 49ers that resulted in an interception.
It has been a roller coaster season for Quick and the Rams. His play is a lot like Gibson when he was in St. Louis with the rise and fall of his focus. He is searching for consistency so that he can be a bigger part of the offense, and the Rams absolutely need him to be more reliable. St. Louis’ receivers are definitely going to have to step up if they want to win for the rest of the season with Bradford out for the year. Kellen Clemens will need all of the help he can get this week against the astonishingly great Seattle Seahawks defense. If the Rams decide to bring in someone else to take the helm at QB they are not going to be Peyton Manning‘s clone, so it is going to be time for Quick to really makes strides. Quick will have to prove himself to be reliable if he wants to stay in St. Louis.