Originally written August 23, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS The ambitious rookie wants his chance, his drive obvious with each word he speaks. He envisions growing into the St. Louis Rams second wide receiver option behind Danny Amendola, because hes not the type to become settled. Oh, definitely, said Chris Givens, taken 96th overall from Wake Forest. Thats something I think about right now, every day. Im not the type whos going to be content with just having a certain role. I want to be a major contributor to the offense. The hardened veteran wants his chance, his drive obvious with a slight smile before he speaks. He envisions growing into the Rams second wide receiver option behind Amendola, because hes not the type to let opportunity pass him by. Yeah, definitely, said Steve Smith, signed by St. Louis in March after spending his first five NFL seasons with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Ive just got to go out there and play and show my performance. Good news for the Rams: Their senior member of the slot is back after missing most of the 2011 season because of a torn triceps and a dislocated elbow in his left arm sustained in a Week 1 loss to the Eagles. Amendola, who has 1,060 yards receiving and four touchdowns in three seasons as the Gateway Citys sawed-off specialist in the middle, will provide valued hands for quarterback Sam Bradford that were AWOL for all but three quarters last fall. His return is welcome. Bad news: Through two preseason games, its unclear who the Rams second receiving option will be when facing the Detroit Lions in Week 1. Austin Pettis has four catches for 47 yards, but hell miss the first two regular-season games without pay for violating the NFLs performance-enhancing drug policy last December; Givens (three catches for 40 yards) and fellow rookie Brian Quick (four catches for 29 yards) are skilled but both are as green as the turf they cut on at the Edward Jones Dome; Smith (three catches for 24 yards) is seasoned, but he only caught 11 passes in nine games with the Eagles in 2011; Brandon Gibson and Danario Alexander have been off the grid throughout most of training camp because of hamstring issues. So the question remains: Who will be the trusted No. 2? I think theres still some tough calls, said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who has installed a West Coast-like system after spending six seasons with the New York Jets. I think we know we got a good core group of guys. Again, were still waiting for some guys to separate themselves. Again, then you start playing the numbers game. But were very pleased with what those guys have done. In these next couple of games, we expect to have a couple guys step up. The next couple games will include that chance. Its key that someone anyone wrestles the opportunity by its collar, because the Rams air attack had more flight delays last season than Lambert-St. Louis International Airport during a midwinter blizzard. The Rams ranked 30th in pass offense with an average of 179.4 yards per game, squeezing past the Denver Broncos (152.1) and Jacksonville Jaguars (136.2) for the cellar spots in the category. That was a dip from Bradfords rookie season, when St. Louis averaged 204.2 yards per game through the air a total that ranked 21st in the league. But theres promise in youth. Amendola, the slot sage himself, likes what he sees from Quick and Givens. The preseason is like shaking a wrapped birthday gift you never know what youre going to get but there are signs that the Rams passing game could have more pop. Its going good, Amendola said of the wide receiver competition. Young guys with a bunch of speed and talent (are) trying to get this playbook down. Theyre coming in theyre ready to play. Theyre ready to learn this offense the ends and outs and what it takes to be a professional wide receiver. Theyre ready to go. They better be, because Bradford will trust them to provide an escape hatch with a terror like Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh chasing him in more than two weeks. Last season, there were precious few options for the former Heisman Trophy winner in a painful year: Brandon Lloyd, now with the New England Patriots, led the Rams with 51 catches for 683 yards and five touchdowns; Gibson followed with 36 catches for 431 yards and a touchdown; Alexander had 26 catches for 431 yards and two touchdowns. Will there be a correction in the coming months? Will Sundays include more firepower for Bradford in his most important season? They better or the former top draft picks arm will be grounded again. In those certain areas where there is competition, we tried to create at least an even opportunity for them as best we can, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. Well see. There will be some things that will be settled here in the next week or so. Hes right. Many in the Rams' wide receiving corps want their chance to be the trusted No. 2. May the group's strongest emerge. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL: Abdullah should not have been penalized for praying

Belichick: Pats 'didn't play well enough at all' against Chiefs

Astros new manager A.J. Hinch: ‘Goal is to win championships’

Oakland Raiders fire Dennis Allen after 0-4 start

Did Roger Goodell’s bodyguard assault a photographer?

Kobe Bryant, Deron Williams engage in war of words

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Georgia RB Todd Gurley falsely accused of punching student

Russell Westbrook: "I'm the best point guard" in NBA

Texas WR takes shot at Baylor ahead of big game

Jim Harbaugh: Deion Sanders' report is 'a bunch of crap'

Bills bench E.J. Manuel, Kyle Orton to start

Report: Jovan Belcher likely had CTE

The best and worst MLB players in September

Tracking demanding career paths of all Top 25 head coaches

NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Strahan to make cameo as stripper in 'Magic Mike' sequel

Chiefs player penalized for praying after touchdown

Bill Belichick laughs off QB question...literally

Patriots fan fails with American flag face paint

Joe Fauria's new puppy is responsible for his ankle injury

LaRon Landry suspended four games for PED violation

NBA GMs on the hot seat

Rockets GM Daryl Morey fires back at Mark Cuban

The most and least improved hitters of 2014

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

NFL admits error on Abdullah penalty

The best and worst MLBers in Sept.

College FB coaches, tough career paths

NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Raiders fire Dennis Allen after 0-4 start

Chiefs player penalized for praying after TD

Did Roger Goodell’s bodyguard assault a photographer?

Kobe, Deron engage in war of words

Belichick laughs off QB question

Joe Fauria's puppy caused ankle injury

Texas WR takes shot at Baylor

Jim Harbaugh rips Deion Sanders' report

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.