Rams' receivers picking up the slack in Amendola's absence

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 | 7:05 p.m. CDT
Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola walks off the field after injuring his shoulder trying to catch a pass during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Oct. 4. Rams receivers have stepped up in his absence, however, piling up 462 yards of receiving in last Sunday's match-up against the Miami Dolphins.

ST. LOUIS— The St. Louis Rams have done a good job of filling in for injured wide receiver Danny Amendola.

The team's leading receiver injured his shoulder against Arizona on Oct. 4, missed Sunday's loss at Miami and is expected to miss at least another three games.

The rest of the receivers picked up the slack against the Dolphins with 10 players getting a catch.

While Amendola was the go-to guy from his slot position recording team highs in receptions (32) and yards (395), the Rams have had several other players contribute. That has made the transition easier.

"Out here we have a lot of guys who are very smart and very intelligent, and they really take pride in understanding the offense and knowing what people have to do around you," said Austin Pettis, who had one catch against Miami.

"That just helps you so much more when you're going out there to read a defense, understand concepts. I think that's why we're meshing pretty well in the receiver room because everyone kind of knows where everyone else is supposed to be at, and we're able to fly around a little bit faster."

Coach Jeff Fisher said Amendola's absence has provided younger players an opportunity to show what they can do.

Brandon Gibson had increased work against Miami, but rookie Chris Givens has become a deep threat the team hasn't had in years. The running backs also saw more action in the passing game.

Quarterback Sam Bradford targeted the backs nine times out of his 38 attempts against the Dolphins, including three combined receptions from rookies Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson.

"Anytime you have an injury, somebody steps up," Fisher said. "Well, in this case we've got an entire group that stepped up.

"Even though, by and large, it's a young group. They've worked well together. They're catching the ball consistently and getting to the right place. When Danny comes back, we'll be that much better, but this is some great experience for the younger guys."

Givens has proven to be the most potent of the rookies.

He has caught passes of 50 yards or more in each of his past three games, including a 65-yarder against the Dolphins for one of his season-high three receptions.

"He's got tremendous speed. He's a great route runner," Bradford said. "He's just got a feel for finding holes, getting behind people. I think the more we've worked together, the more comfortable I've become with him out there, and I think that's been pretty apparent the past couple weeks with the big plays he's been able to make."

Pettis said Bradford and the receivers will continue to work together as St. Louis (3-3) prepares to host Green Bay (3-3) on Sunday.

"The offense did pretty well last week, coming out throwing the ball," he said. "Overall, I think we're doing pretty well. Everyone's been kind of clicking. I think Sam's still getting comfortable with the other receivers taking over Danny's role."

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