The Rams tried to surround quarterback Sam Bradford with an abundance of quality receivers heading into the 2013 season, signing tight end Jared Cook to big money as a free agent and drafting wide receiver Tavon Austin eighth overall in April's draft. The result? No Rams receiver gained more than 700 yards. Cook set the high mark at 671. The leading wideout, Chris Givens , had 577 yards. It certainly didn't help that Bradford was out of commission after Week 7 due to a torn ACL. But it became clear that among all of the weapons in the Rams' passing offense, none of them are truly elite, game-breaking targets. Or at least not yet. However, Rams general manager Les Snead doesn't see what the big deal is.
"Statistically, you've heard me say teams win, individuals don't," Snead said. "We're in this fantasy football-type age, and I think if you look at seven of the top 10 pass-catchers, seven of the top 10 didn't make the playoffs. So there's three of them who are in. So yes, those guys are really good individual players, had great seasons, it didn't mean their teams made the playoffs."
But ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner points out two things: One, it was actually four of the top-10 wide receivers in terms of yards who made the playoffs. But more importantly, 75 percent of the league's playoff teams had a receiver who topped 1,000 yards. So, are you sure you don't need to get more help on the perimeter?
"I go back to this and the answer is really 'no' on that," Snead said. "I think our receivers right now, I truly believe as they progress and the oldest guy just finished his third year, we cannot have another receiver around here, and we're going to be a good football team."
I find it great that those comments are made in an article that some copy editor titled "Rams still in need of top receiver."
Bradford's injury was part of the problem. Another problem was offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Specifically, his lack of imagination with his playmakers, especially Austin. Here's a guy who the Rams spent an early first-round pick on, and he was barely on the field for a bunch of games. In the second half of the season, they found some ways to get him involved, and Austin became a human highlight reel. Unbelievably, his 40 catches were the most of all the WRs here. There is a ton of potential in this group -- Austin, Givens, Cook, Stedman Bailey , Brian Quick -- and none of them are older than 26. But potential just means they haven't done anything yet. It sounds like Snead is comfortable betting on that potential.
Or he could just be lying. General managers do that, you know? 'Tis the season.