The St. Louis Rams are going old school, at least they’re trying to. More than a decade after Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce led the 'Greatest Show on Turf” in St. Louis, the Rams are trying to return to the days when their offense lit up the scoreboard on a regular basis. In a division where they face two stingy defenses and have to keep pace with two of the best young quarterbacks in football, the Rams need to find a way to distinguish themselves, and the way they’re going to do that is with large amounts of speed on the offensive side of the ball, which they hope will return them to the days when they had one of the most potent offenses in the NFL.
Throughout the entire offseason, the Rams have worked to overhaul their offense, with the emphasis being on speed. It started when they parted ways with veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola and veteran running back Steven Jackson. Amendola and Jackson have been long-time fixtures on the St. Louis offense, and while they both remain productive players who signed sizeable free agent contracts with other teams, the Rams were willing to let both players go in favor of brining in young players with speed to surround quarterback Sam Bradford.
During the draft is when the Rams did their most significant work in trying to reshape their offense. They traded up to the 8th overall pick in the draft in order to take West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin, a player they clearly coveted heading into the draft. Later in the draft, the Rams took Austin’s college teammate Stedman Bailey. Both Austin and Bailey are undersized compared to the average NFL wide receiver, but they are both lightning quick and possess incredible speed, which makes them a threat to break off a big play every time they touch the ball. Drafting Austin and Bailey has added a vast amount of speed to the Ram’s roster, which they hope will pay off for them, especially on their turf field, where players with speed and quickness can excel.
Austin and Bailey will be joining the Ram’s leading receiver from last year Chris Givens, who is another young, speedy, and slightly undersized wide receiver. With Givens and the two rookies, the Rams will have a trio of fast receivers, which will enable them to spread the field, create space for their playmakers, and utilize their speed to create big plays. If the Rams are able to stretch the field vertically, it should open up space across the middle of the field for their speedsters, which could make them a dangerous offensive team.
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Clearly, all the changes to the Rams offense this offseason have revolved around getting younger and getting faster. By doing so, they have essentially exchanged veterans Amendola and Jackson for rookies Austin and Bailey. If things work out according to plan, the Rams could revive the “Greatest Show on Turf” offense that worked wonders for them more than a decade ago.