Rams need team effort to replace wide receiver Amendola

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 | 8:09 p.m. CDT
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola and Arizona Cardinals cornerback William Gay react to an incomplete pass Thursday, Oct. 4, in St. Louis. The Rams will be without their star receiver for several weeks.

ST. LOUIS — With prolific wide receiver Danny Amendola sidelined by a collarbone injury, the St. Louis Rams will probably need a group effort to make up the volume for the next several weeks.

They're doing their best to put a happy face on the situation. Amendola is among the NFL leaders with 32 receptions and has nearly 40 percent of the Rams' receptions on the year.

"Danny going down just opens the door," quarterback Sam Bradford said Wednesday. "It gives an opportunity to some of our other receivers to step up and make plays."

That includes rookies Chris Givens and Brian Quick. Steve Smith figures to get back into the mix this week at Miami after being inactive the last two games.

Smith, who has five catches with a 14-yard average, downplayed the opportunity.

"I'm just going to do my job, do what they ask of me," Smith said. "I'm just coming in ready to work every day."

Coach Jeff Fisher said Smith took the hits "like a pro" and made contributions on the scout team.

"He even continued with that today," Fisher said. "Don't expect him to like it, but he understood. He understands patience.

"Unfortunately, through injury he's been given another opportunity."

Amendola is eighth in the NFL in receptions, averaging 12.2 yards with two touchdowns, even though he was limited to a 44-yard grab before he got hurt in the second quarter last Thursday. He could be out six weeks with a collarbone injury.

After practice Wednesday, coach Jeff Fisher said only that Amendola did not participate. But on his weekly radio show earlier in the week, the coach said the injury was "rare and unique" and added it was "probably better than a fracture of the collarbone," which would have sidelined Amendola eight to 10 weeks or perhaps the rest of the season.

"The doctors did a great job with it on Friday, with the diagnosis," Fisher said on his radio show. "The medical staff did an excellent job."

It's the second straight year with a major setback for Amendola, who was undrafted out of Texas Tech and spent time on the practice squads at Dallas and Philadelphia before emerging with St. Louis. He played just one game last year after dislocating his left elbow and later injuring a triceps muscle when he tried to come back, but he led the Rams with 85 receptions in 2010.

"Danny caught a lot of balls and was involved in a lot of our passing game," Bradford said. "Those balls, they have to go somewhere."

Brandon Gibson is Sam Bradford's No. 2 target thus far with 13 receptions, a 14.2-yard average and two touchdowns. Tight end Lance Kendricks caught his first career touchdown pass last week and has 10.

Givens is the fastest Ram with a 4.3 40-yard dash time and blew past Arizona's Patrick Peterson on a 52-yard touchdown pass that put that game out of reach. He's averaging 28 yards but on just four receptions.

"With the injury to Danny my reps are going to increase a little bit," Givens said. "We've got to prove to the coaches we can do it without Danny as well as with Danny."

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