St. Louis Rams: 4 Emerging Weapons for Sam Bradford
Despite falling to the Chicago Bears in a 6-23 loss on Sunday, Sam Bradford has a lot to look forward to considering the pieces that are around him.
The Rams are slowly becoming multidimensional. The running game is adequate and the receivers are earning their strides faster than expected.
Receivers like Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson are already proving their worth and can be crucial to Sam Bradford’s maturity, as well as his productivity.
Here are four emerging weapons for Sam Bradford.
Honorable Mention: Lance Kendricks
The Rams tight end hasn't exactly produced astonishing numbers in his first year in St. Louis.
According to NFL.com, Kendricks had 28 receptions for 352 yards in the 2011 regular season.
Given that the Rams are still seeking their offensive identity, having a dependable tight end to throw it to in case the receivers are well covered would be a premium for Bradford.
Kendricks can be Bradford's safety net.
So far in the 2012 season, Kendricks has started only one game but has caught seven receptions for 59 yards.
It will be a gradual learning process for Kendricks, but a learning curve is expected of the young tight end since he is only entering his second season in the league.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola was projected to be Bradford’s main target entering the 2011 season.
Amendola had five receptions for 45 yards in his first game in 2011, but he suffered a season-ending elbow injury against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 13-31 loss.
He has already shown in 2012 that he can come back from injury and continue where he left off.
Notably, his Week 2 performance against the Washington Redskins gave Rams fans hope that the receiver could possibly be one of the elite pass-catchers in the game.
Amendola has 15 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown.
According to ESPN, Amendola’s 15 receptions tied the franchise record for second most, tying Rams great Isaac Bruce.
This sort of production is hardly seen on a regular basis, but this shows how effectively Bradford can utilize the receiver.
Brandon Gibson is also becoming a viable threat for the Rams' evolving passing game.
The fourth-year receiver from Washington State is only trailing Danny Amendola in terms of receiving production.
So far in the 2012 season, Gibson has totaled 8 eight receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
According to ESPN, he is averaging more yards per reception than any other Rams receiver, with 15.4 yards per catch.
If Gibson can keep up this steady production in the long run, the Rams would have a formidable receiving threat to offset their running game.
Of course, the offensive production relies on the workhorse Steven Jackson.
Even though the Rams are focused on developing the passing game, at the end of the day the rushing production will dictate all that.
The Rams' most recent loss to the Bears can easily be attributed to Jackson’s absence, since Bradford was unable to find a right balance of passing and rushing with backup Daryl Richardson.
Jackson is getting older, which may indicate that he is due for a sharp drop in production sooner rather than later. In that case, Bradford and Co. may have to rely on the pass sooner than anticipated.
Regardless, Jackson's current production can ease Bradford's worries and can lead to greater success for the Rams once the Rams great retires.