The Los Angeles Rams are 1-1 on the young season despite not even scoring a touchdown. There might be help on the way in the form of two rookie Wide receiver’s.
Pharoh Cooper, the fourth-round pick out of the University of South Carolina has been inactive the first two games due to injury and the undrafted local rookie receiver Nelson Spruce has dealt with an injury he sustained in the first game of preseason. Rams starting Quarterback Case Keenum isn’t exactly looking like an All-Pro QB out there but he looks better than the Keenum we saw on Monday Night Football. Keenum even said that he was seeing ghosts in week one but week two he turned it around. He didn’t turn the ball over and moved the ball down the field. However, Keenum finished the game without a touchdown and that’s where you got to wonder if the Rams miss Cooper and Spruce.
You have to imagine the Rams want to utilize Cooper frequently since he was rolling with the first-team offense in the slot during training camp. Cooper already looks like that player that is going to be a play maker and an acrobat but as we are seeing now, he is going to have trouble staying on the field. When he comes back he will be slid right into the slot receiver spot that is being held by fifth-year disappointment at WR Brian Quick. Quick hasn’t been horrible but he clearly is not getting open and making explosive plays in the open field like Cooper is capable.
On the other hand you have Spruce who (if you want to be blunt) has only played one game with the Rams and it was the second half of a preseason game with third-string players in. Still, many Rams fans including myself, believe Spruce will be able to make plays down the stretch as he displayed in that lone preseason game he has the ability to create separation and most importantly catch whatever is thrown to him. That is something that as simple as it sounds doesn’t seem to be common with the Rams.
Spruce is going to be a top jersey seller based off the local fan ship but all the game he had in the first game of the L.A. Rams. Preseason or not that was the most fans ever in attendance for a preseason game. Spruce seemingly became an overnight icon after that game. It’s very rare for the Rams to have a player that the entire fan base chants his last name. However, for Spruce that has become the norm.
So we know who these two receivers are, now lets go ahead and see what the WR’s and Tight ends are doing this season.
WR Kenny Britt: 10 catches, 161 yards, 0 TD
WR Tavon Austin: 9 catches, 63 yards, 0 TD
TE Lance Kendricks: 6 catches, 76 yards, 0 TD
WR Brian Quick: 4 catches, 31 yards, 0 TD
TE Tyler Higbee: 1 catch, 2 yards, 0 TD
First off the zero touchdowns jump right off the page, second Keenum really isn’t spreading the ball around and the Rams really don’t want to use WR’s Bradley Marquez or Mike Thomas in the passing game. Lastly the Rams need Cooper and Spruce back! Cooper is definitely going to be the slot WR and Spruce is definitely going to get to play. There should be no doubt Spruce plays, especially because he made the team based off his offensive ability.
Is Keenum at fault for his first game? Yes, but his second? I think he was very limited at the receiver position and while I don’t think Keenum is ultimately the answer at QB I don’t think he played bad enough to lose his role as the team’s QB and I think this offense is only going to get better when they can bunch up Austin, Britt and Cooper and have Spruce on the other side. Things like that are going to transform the Rams offense. The Rams will be in position to start scoring touchdowns when they have those two out there. Perhaps having Cooper on the field might open up the end-around play the Rams are dying to get Austin rolling with. Having two of the same types of player on the field in Cooper and Austin at the same time will be deadly but, having a guy like Spruce who can come in and create separation and make the tough catch? Well, let’s just say Spruce could be the Rams cure for their third-down woes right when he comes back.
Keenum can’t wait to have these guys back, Jeff Fisher can’t wait to have them back and obviously the fans can’t wait to have them back. Make no mistake Cooper and Spruce are the reinforcements to a team that showed week two that their defense can handle their own. It’s just a matter of when the Rams develop an offensive attack and when they do, the sky is the limit…