If there’s one guy whose stock is rising in camp this summer, it’s Quick’s. He’s been playing so well lately that his performance has permeated the stock quotes of several of his teammates.
The Rams are getting better across the board as a team and have avoided major injuries thus far. For that reason, choosing “rising” players is exponentially easier than selecting “falling” guys. As a result, the “falling” players are named as such because of the accelerated improvement around them, rather than their own abundance of missteps in most cases.
What follows is a narration of notes and observations that I made during my four visits to Rams camp this year.
Janoris Jenkins picked up his camp where he left his rookie season off: Balling.
He had three pick-sixes in his last six games, but he’s still hungry. I noticed him working closely with Cortland Finnegan after practice was over last week.
But boy, is Brian Quick gaining on him.
Quick is getting looks from Sam Bradford on the first team every now and then, and while he may still be the No. 4 wideout in St. Louis, the gap is closing between him and Pettis. He’ll have every opportunity to seize a big workload as the No. 33 overall pick in 2012.
More snaps for Quick will likely be at the expense of the veteran.
Fans’ attention—much like that of defenses—may be justly paid to Tavon Austin, but Stedman Bailey has been a revelation in Rams camp. As if 25 collegiate touchdowns last season weren’t enough for the latter, he has a skill set that translates so well to the NFL that it’s astonishing that he fell to No. 92 overall.
Cortland probably was asked to turn down his trademark style of physical play with his teammates. He can’t jam guys up at the line every play in practice because the coaches won’t have a chance to see the wideouts release on him in different ways.
He’ll still beat up on them from time to time, though, because that’s his game.
There’s no real cause for concern with Finnegan right now; it’s just worth noting that Sam Bradford has been targeting him. The offense hasn’t always come out on top in those scenarios, either.
Cody Davis and Ray Ray Armstrong were both undrafted safeties when they matriculated to the Jeff Fisher School of Defense. Only one—Davis—still has that title, but both look like they can make the team this fall.
Armstrong is now a linebacker.
Both Davis and Armstrong came up with interceptions while I was in attendance, and Ray Ray has shown potential to be a monster in the run game and on special teams, as well. Davis is just over 200 pounds, but he is more than willing to pop a ball-carrier himself.
Pead’s best quality may be his burst, but it’s perhaps best used as a receiver. This summer, the St. Louis Rams have tested his kick and punt-fielding skills, motioned him out wide and targeted him several times in the passing game.
Drops aside, he has shown up with some big catches in camp. With running backs like Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush attracting the volume of targets that they do, Pead’s receiving prowess can be utilized similarly from the Rams backfield.
For a long time, fantasy football owners have wondered what the St. Louis Rams backfield touches distribution would look like. Opinions abounded, but we didn’t even know who the starter was going to be.
At least the second question was answered on Aug. 6, when head coach Jeff Fisher told CBSSports.com: “I think Daryl [Richardson] comes back as our starter.”
Richardson punctuated that statement in practice by bursting through the second level and using the Madden truck stick on rookie safety T.J. McDonald, who has adjusted well to the pros so far—and outweighs Richardson by over 20 pounds.
He’s “just trying to do something out there,” that’s all.
Most important about the competition between the two is that Davis is actually running the second team, while Clemens has the third-team guys. We’d still like to see the snap exchanges be seamless, though.
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Justin Veltung caught my eye with an over-the-shoulder catch in the left corner of the end zone on July 31. He’s got some hops (41.5-inch vertical at his pro day, according to NFLDraftScout.com) and speed (4.46 40-yard dash). But his quickness translates onto the field, too.
The St. Louis Rams gave him looks at kick and punt returner, as well as slot targets, a handoff and a fake handoff. If he makes the team, he’ll be more than bottom-of-the-roster emergency fodder. The Rams will use him somewhere by choice.
If he doesn’t make it as the sixth wideout, look for him to be signed somewhere else this year. He can play.
And he can jump.
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