With the injuries to Rams’ running back Steve Jackson early and quarterback Sam Bradford late, it’s easy to overlook the hurt that St. Louis' most effective wide receiver, Danny Amendola, got in the middle.
And that’s a mistake because Amendola is the one guy the club is almost certainly going to have to replace. His dislocated elbow is likely to have him out for the season. Jackson’s hamstring problem, while a serious crimp to the running game, does not appear to be a long-term issue, and neither does Bradford’s finger injury.
But the nasty-looking elbow injury that shelved Amendola after five early catches good for 45 yards could have more of a long-term impact. There isn’t much depth at the position behind him, so the club may be forced to look at trades to compensate.
If Amendola, who came of age in 2010 as Bradford’s most reliable target (85 catches, 689 yards), is indeed out, wide receivers Brandon Gibson and Mike Sims-Walker and tight end Lance Kendricks might well be asked to step up, and it’s not at all clear that either is ready for such prime time duty.
With Amendola likely to miss all or a significant portion of the season, even a quick return by Bradford is likely to slow the Rams’ passing game. And if Jackson can’t carry the ball, you have to wonder where the offense is going to come from.
Certainly it was lacking Sunday against the Eagles in what can only be described as a disappointing debut for 2011, a 31-13 loss.