Emerging Playmakers Will Ease Kellen Clemens’ Transition with St. Louis Rams
It’s been a week of lamenting what might have been given quarterback Sam Bradford’s untimely injury near the end of the game in Week 7. The St. Louis Rams weren’t exactly sitting pretty, even with their starter in place, but at least the team seemed competitive. Now with Kellen Clemens set to direct the offense on Monday night, how can Jeff Fisher’s crew even put up a fight against the Seattle Seahawks?
Perhaps the best place to start is with diminutive weapon Tavon Austin. The pint-sized playmaker was electric on a 63-yard touchdown catch last week, but a holding call on left tackle Jake Long negated the play and made the moment all for naught. Despite the countless penalties that have proven costly for the undisciplined Rams, Austin has at least flashed an ability to make things happen on offense and add something very necessary to an offense lacking explosive plays.
Chris Givens has also seemed to wake up from his sophomore slump recently, and tight end Jared Cook has started producing again like he did in Week 1. These two are vital for opening up space for the small Austin to work underneath, and his ability to make things happen in the short passing game works to free up both Cook and Givens on the outside. This symbiotic relationship will have to be at peak efficiency now that Clemens is the man under center and not Bradford, but these guys are familiar with the veteran’s way of running the offense as well.
One player who may be most familiar (given his place as the fourth wideout on the depth chart) is Brian Quick. He may have slept through his alarm for a breakout season, but he’s starting to show signs of progress recently. The team kept the faith in the small school receiver, and it seems like their patience is finally paying off after seeing the 73-yard grab he had this past week. His slow but steady emergence to lead the team in receiving yards last week could help ease the transition from Bradford to Clemens in the weeks ahead.
The situation certainly isn’t ideal in St. Louis, but there’s no reason to think their offense will suffer that large of a setback given the way the group of receivers has been emerging in recent weeks. This progression will help the team spread the field and still make some plays offensively even without their proven leader. If Clemens can limit his mistakes, the Rams could easily still be competitive for the remainder of the season.