Rams WR Chris Givens has taken a lot of steps to get his game back on track since the 2013 finale against Seattle when he didn’t have a single catch. He decided that he had to make changes in his life and make football his No. 1 priority.
“When I was young, I felt like I was trying to do too much, please too many people,” he said. “Saying ‘yes’ too much. Being afraid to let my light shine because of how it made someone else feel. So I humbled myself and made football my job. Made it a priority. And I just started writing goals and doing a lot of things.”
In Arizona he worked with longtime fitness and martial arts instructor Mack Newton. Givens described him as “this 68-year-old trainer. ... Old school. No weight-lifting. He works on building you up from the inside-out. Before every class, we’d sit down and talk for like an hour, just about spiritual things, and having the proper self-esteem.”
By now, Givens has put the frustration of last season behind him, a season that included a shoulder injury and an especially nagging ankle injury. Givens didn’t miss any games but said the ankle injury required a lot of maintenance and bothered him most of the year.
“My goals right now are to be really involved with the team, and to really embrace the whole concept of team,” Givens said. “And just to be a leader. Be a finisher. Be a catalyst. To do everything I need to do to put my body in the best position to start (training) camp.”
Givens is a candidate for a bounce-back season after a very disappointing sophomore campaign. A renewed focus on football will help, but so should the return of QB Sam Bradford, who missed much of the season with a torn ACL.
With today’s start of the Rams’ offseason conditioning program, quarterback Sam Bradford will be limited along with a few other players coming off injuries.
“Sam’s in a very good place considering what happened last year,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “I thought he was off to a great start. Had he stayed healthy his projected numbers could’ve been quite impressive. He’s worked hard through the process, and I would expect him at some point to be throwing in OTAs.”
“You’re not gonna hear a head coach say he has a player on his team that’s not ahead of schedule coming off an ACL. Everybody says they’re all ahead of schedule. But he is realistically way ahead of schedule."
Through the first seven games of the season, Bradford averaged 16.9 FP and was the #11 QB before injuring his knee late in a game against the Panthers. Fantasy-wise, he may have turned a corner, but he's going to have to put together a full, productive season to get a sizable extension from the Rams. He'll be a QBBC type in 2014.
NFL teams say the name of Danny Amendola has been floated in trade talks. The Patriots signed the wide receiver to a five-year, $28.5 million contract last offseason, but Amendola struggled to stay healthy and did not have the kind of impact the team envisioned him having. Amendola caught 54 passes for 633 yards with Tom Brady throwing to him. He had two better seasons when he played in St. Louis with Sam Bradford throwing to him. There has been speculation the Patriots could cut Amendola if a deal cannot be worked out.
Two questions facing the Rams this offseason are whether Sam Bradford is the right man to be the franchise quarterback, and whether the Rams and Bradford will agree to a new contract. Rams coach Jeff Fisher says he doesn’t know the answer to the latter question, but the answer to the former is an emphatic yes.
Fisher said on Mike and Mike in the Morning that Bradford is making good progress in recovery from the torn ACL that cut short his 2013 season, and will be the starting quarterback for the Rams when the season starts.
“Sam’s doing great with the rehab,” Fisher said. “He’s really excited. He took on a leadership role last year and he’s maintained that and he’s our quarterback, and we’ve said that.”
In seven games, Bradford averaged 16.9 FP, which was the 15th-highest average among QBs. Fantasy-wise, he may have turned a corner, but he's going to have to put together a full, productive season to get a sizable extension from the Rams.
Friday, January 17, 2014, 11:36am
Last Monday marked eight weeks since Sam Bradford underwent left knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. And the Rams’ quarterback couldn’t be feeling better.
The knee is pain free, the rehab process is going well and accelerating. Prior to the surgery, Bradford wouldn’t offer a prediction on when he’d be able to return. But on Thursday he said there was no reason why he shouldn’t be ready to go by the start of training camp in late July.
Bradford will be somewhere in the QB2 mix by the time 2014 draft season begins.
Saturday, November 23, 2013, 7:51pm
Quinn signed with the Rams on Oct. 23 after starting quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending knee injury. He practiced that week but has been on the injury report with what was called a hip injury since. Fisher said earlier this week Quinn injured himself lifting weights, and his injury is actually related to his lower back.
Rams QB Sam Bradford reportedly has a torn ACL.
This news jibes with what the Rams feared and why, as CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported, they were bracing for the worst.
It's a huge blow to the Rams as Bradford appeared to be progressing some in the last few weeks. Bradford had seven touchdowns and just one interception in his last three games and had completed 70 percent or higher of his passes in two of those games. Kellen Clemens will start and it will mean a drop off in rankings for the skill players around him.
Saturday, October 19, 2013, 9:35am
Sam Bradford is a 58.4% career passer. He's been more efficient this season – 59.5% passing, 13 touchdowns, three interceptions, 90.7 rating – but never will be known for his accuracy.
Austin stands 5-foot-8 and 176 pounds. He leads the Rams with 24 catches but is averaging only 6.6 yards per reception, meaning he's mostly getting the ball near the line of scrimmage.
The bigger targets presented by Austin Pettis (6-3, 203), tight end Jared Cook (6-5, 254) and even Chris Givens (6-0, 203) are capable of creating more favorable matchups on the perimeter than Austin, who's best suited to the slot and is smallish even for that spot.
"You can get away with those guys if you have (Drew) Brees or (Tom) Brady," the executive said. "Of course, you can get away with a lot with those guys."
Austin is one of the disappointments in this year's fantasy world, mostly because he was pretty hyped up by the team in the offseason. Then the Rams said they were keeping him under wraps in preseason games, but he's obviously yet to be unwrapped this season. According to this story, he's just not a good match with Bradford. Not a good sign for the future either.
Sunday, October 6, 2013, 9:05pm
But for one day at least -- even against Jacksonville's league-worst rush defense -- Stacy was the cure for what's ailed the Rams' running woes.
“I thought Zac did a great job today,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “I think he showed everyone what he was about. He ran hard, he ran physical, he ran downhill. I don't think you could ask for much more from him today.”
We started to get wind of a possible change when Daryl Richardson tweeted he wasn't going to start this week. Stacy got a bulk of the practice reps and appears to have earned himself a greater workload. He did leave with an injury this week, saying he got the wind knocked out of him, but reports say he has a rib injury. Seems like he's on track to start next week, though.
Saturday, September 7, 2013, 3:57pm
For the first time in his NFL career, he has the same offensive coordinator and the same playbook. As a result, Bradford should be able to delve more into the details of the offense and be better suited to teaching it to the young skill players around him.
The Rams made a conscious effort to surround him with better talent in the offseason
Bradford is still well down our list of QBs this season, but worth keeping an eye on. Based on the talent around him, he could be a spot starter in certain matchups if you fall into QB trouble.
Isaiah Pead's night was largely a wash. On his first carry of the game, he got to the edge with purpose while picking up 9 yards. Later in the first half, he caught a dump-off pass from Sam Bradford, made a nice move to shake a defender on the sidelines, and picked up 10 yards in the process. But on the very next play, he chose to bounce a run outside instead of following his guard through the hole, which resulted in a loss of a yard instead of a potential gain. Despite starting and playing the majority of the first half, he converted his 12 touches into just 29 total yards while failing to make much of an impact. And while some of that can be blamed on the Rams' shoddy run-blocking, Daryl Richardson continues to run with more decisiveness and remains the favorite to start early in the season.
That said, there was one takeaway from Pead's night that you won't find on the stat sheet. He did a great job picking up the blitz on two separate pass plays in the first half, including on Bradford's 57-yard completion to Chris Givens in the first quarter. Seeing as how blitz pickup has been a problem for Pead this offseason, at least he shined in that area on Saturday night.
The Rams RB situation is being closely monitored by fantasy owners this preseason. At this point, it appears as if Richardson is well ahead of Pead, while Zac Stacy is an afterthought. While there is some risk here, Richardson is looking like a nice RB3 with some upside in the 6th/7th round. Pead can be had cheaply in the later rounds.
Thursday, August 15, 2013, 12:01pm
“For the first time in my career we’re going into the second year of an offense,” Rams QB Sam Bradford said after Tuesday’s late afternoon workout, attended by owner Stan Kroenke, among others. “It’s amazing how much difference it makes when you’re not having to learn an offense. I don’t think the average fan realizes what it’s like trying to learn something as opposed to fine tuning it. ”
Bradford could break out this season with a new set of weapons and some consistency at offensive coordinator.
At tight end, Rams free-agent signee Jared Cook began building his rapport with Sam Bradford during sessions in the summer. They've already connected endlessly in camp, making one believe he'll serve as Bradford's security blanket like Danny Amendola was in 2012. What the coaches also like is that when Bradford throws it, Cook catches it. "Jared has a giant receiving radius," HC Jeff Fisher said. "With Sam's accuracy, Sam can put the ball out of frame to complete it. And they work really well together."
Cook is an upside TE2, though his ADP (9.09) is high considering that he isn't all that accomplished in his career. That could change in 2013, though former Cook owners have heard this song before.
Rams GM Kevin Demoff on the team's new offensive approach:
"The goal this year is for [Sam Bradford] to be able to throw to the "open" player, and I expect that we will get meaningful contributions from all 5 WR's, the 2 TE's and the running backs. I think you could see this offense resemble an offense like the Saints where you have 4 or 5 players catch 40-50 balls but nobody who catches 70 or 80. I'm not saying that we are the Saints offense, we need to improve to become that, but more that style where anybody can be a threat on any play. I think that is where we are evolving, letting the down, distance, scheme and coverage dictate who becomes the targeted player."
This could mean that rookie Tavon Austin may be being overdrafted as the 30th WR off the board in the 7th round. We're not sure why Demoff brought up the Saints -- both Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston caught 80+ passes in 2012 and Darren Sproles chimed in with 75 after missing three games due to injury.
Saturday, July 13, 2013, 2:23pm
Good to see the young Rams getting together before training camp to get their timing down.