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Notebook 11/22: Receivers Playing Big Role in Rams’ Running Game

Posted Nov 22, 2013

Wide receivers rarely gain much public acclaim when they’re away from the football. Receptions, yards and touchdowns will dominate a receiver’s stat sheet, though the Rams’ corps of young receivers is also making contributions outside of the passing game.

While rookie RB Zac Stacy has gained acclaim for his work in reviving the Rams’ running game, Stacy can attribute many of his longer runs to blocks by receivers downfield, a point offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer made a point to emphasize during his Thursday press conference.

“That’s the key to the running game,” Schottenheimer said. “Everyone wants to talk about the backs and the line and stuff like that but the big runs in this league happen because of what happens out in the perimeter. If (WR) Brian Quick doesn’t make that block on Tavon’s (Austin) touchdown to start the second half (against Indianapolis), I’m not saying he gets tackled but it’s not going to be quite as easy as it was. But, I just think you see these guys working together. They take a lot of pride in doing it. We make them do it in practice and they’ve kind of bought in. (Wide Receivers Coach) Ray Sherman does a great job with those guys and, again, to have young guys that will do it it’s hard to find that sometimes.”

Quick has been perhaps the most impactful of the Rams receivers as a blocker, aided by his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame. While his blocking contributions have been primarily in the running game, his aforementioned block on Austin’s 81-yard touchdown against the Colts certainly gained the attention of his teammates.

“Every week, he does things that show the work that he’s doing off the field,” QB Kellen Clemens said. “He’s a guy that’s spent a lot of time in his playbook and spending a lot of time on his technique. And, he’s doing a lot of things that maybe don’t make the headlines, but are helping us win. You look at the long touchdown that Tavon had, the catch and run. There’s a reason why that entire half of the field was wide open when he turned the corner. It’s because Brian Quick took his man and put him into the Gatorade cooler. He really did. Go back and watch it. It’s awesome. It’s awesome to watch. He’s doing a great job. He’s got a role on this football and he’s doing a great job in that role.”

Injury Report:

Rams:

Out: G Harvey Dahl (knee), QB Brady Quinn (hip)

Doubtful: CB Cortland Finnegan (eye)

Probable: RB Chase Reynolds (knee), S Darian Stewart (foot), S Matt Giordano (thigh)

Bears:

Out: QB Jay Cutler (ankle), LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), DT Stephen Paea (toe), DT Jeremiah Ratliff (groin)

Questionable: S Craig Steltz (concussion)

Probable: CB Isaiah Frey (hand), LS Patrick Mannelly (calf), DE Shea McClellin (hamstring), T Jordan Mills (quadriceps)