Eight games into the regular season on top of four preseason games and the rigors of training camp behind him, Rams rookie receiver
Whether that “wall” actually exists is a matter of opinion but considering that Quick hasn’t yet been able to crack the receiver rotation on a consistent basis, he sees no reason why he’d do anything but land on an upward trajectory toward an expanded role as the season continues.
“I’m not hitting the wall at all, I probably won’t,” Quick said. “I’ll use that time to get better. They say that all rookies hit the wall and there’s nothing wrong with that but I feel like I have so much to prove so I can’t afford to hit any wall.”
As the 33rd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Quick had plenty of expectations on him as a potential long-term solution to the Rams receiver needs. Blessed with a rare combination of size, speed and athleticism, Quick has all the physical tools teams look for in premiere wideouts.
What Quick didn’t have was a solid base on all the little things it takes to make a quick adjustment to the NFL Not that many rookies do but coming from tiny Appalachian State, he was a bit behind the curve in the nuances of running NFL-caliber routes as well as the ability to translate what he could learn in the classroom to the field.
Through eight games, Quick has five catches for 90 yards with no touchdowns in limited playing time.
It’s not unusual for rookies at any position not to make a big impact right away but Rams coach Jeff Fisher hasn’t wavered one bit in his belief that Quick will become the player the Rams confidently selected with the first pick in the second round.
“Well, he’s going to be a very good player for us,” Fisher said. “He’s just behind. (WR) Chris (Givens) is playing a little bit more than he is, but Brian’s going to be a good player. I have no concerns about him. Some guys just take a little longer early on to get in the flow and that’s actually been the case with both of them.”
In Quick’s case, the learning curve is steeper because he didn’t come from a pro style offense in college, didn’t play against top tier Division I schools on a regular basis and wasn’t really sure about all the things that go into being a professional.
At the NFL level, Quick’s eyes have been opened to a game where not only do you have to put in the work in the classroom then take it out on to the field but you have to do all of it faster than you’ve ever done it before.
“It happens fast,” Quick said. “The thing is everybody learns differently. I’m one of those guys that it’s just something different, that’s what it is. I am pushing; I’m getting extra time with the quarterbacks, with my coach, me and him going over things to make sure I know my stuff. It’s getting there. It’s coming along and the more reps, the better everything is. If I continue to get more reps, I am going to get better every week.”
By his own account, it hasn’t quite clicked for Quick in his first half-season in the NFL. He maintains that he has a good feel for the playbook and knows all of his responsibilities on a given play but sometimes things transpire too fast for him to adjust to when he does get opportunities in games.
Last week against New England, Quick faded from the ball on a deep route and watched as Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard came up with an interception. Quick was slow to react not only to the play but to the return after the play.
Fisher wanted to see something much different, even if Quick couldn’t have made the catch.
“Yes,” Fisher said. “Put your feet in the ground and come up and break up that play, and then touch him down.”
Of course, for every miscue such as that or the drop he had on another chance, Quick also seems to find a way to flash his tantalizing potential.
On the Rams very next possession, backup quarterback
“He’s coming,” Fisher said. “He’s still got a ways to go, but he’s coming. You see the athleticism and his ability to go up and make a play, which he made. Kellen gave him a nice ball, but on the in-break that he dropped, he ran it a little bit too soon. He gets a little excited at times, but he’s coming. So, it’s half way through the season and he’s coming along.”
It’s that inconsistency, perhaps above anything else, that has kept Quick from joining fellow rookie Givens in the starting lineup or at least kept him from having a more prominent role.
On the practice field, Quick has had a propensity to flash his explosive play making skills one day then vanish the next. It’s something he acknowledges and is well aware that he must continue to work to correct moving forward.
“It’s just being a pro,” Quick said. “You have to be consistent. You can’t have some days where you come out and you’re good and then the next day you aren’t playing as well. You have to be consistent. You have to be a pro. That’s the challenge for me right now. I have to be more consistent and just make sure that I can basically prove to them that I know what I’m doing and I know my stuff.”
When Quick does get reps in games, he admits that he still has a knack for thinking too much about what he’s supposed to do, where’s he’s supposed to be and how fast he’s supposed to be there.
According to Quick, receivers coach Ray Sherman recently had a conversation with him where he reminded him not to count his steps when he’s running routes even though he was just doing it to ensure that he’d get the correct depth on his routes.
“It’s hard because you have to be in a certain spot,” Quick said. “Just go out there and play. They know I can play fast, they know what I can do but the thing is I haven’t had that confidence or belief that you don’t have to count your steps, just go out and play fast and just go out there and make plays.”
Still, there are plenty of rookie wide receivers who haven’t been making plays on a consistent basis or are taking their time to develop. Every player is different in how they adjust but when the light bulb comes on, the Rams and Quick are confident it will burn bright.
If Quick has his way, that day will come sooner than later.
“I have to just relax and do what I have to do,” Quick said. “You know your assignments and you are not thinking so much. Once that day comes when I am not thinking at all and everything is coming, I’ll be ready.”