The Rams hope their new addition, a well-needed veteran receiver in Wes Welker, can improve their third-down numbers.
The St. Louis Rams finally nab some established veteran help at receiver signing the once go-to guy of Tom Brady, Wes Welker, to a one-year contract with incentives. A proactive move undoubtedly influenced by the team’s 4-for-37 third down conversion stat total for the last three games, but also because they lose receiver Stedman Bailey for the second time in two seasons for the same reason, violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Bailey, who was suspended for four games, also missed two games in 2014 and is the second player in two weeks to be suspended. Running back Trey Watts, 24-year-old son of ex-lawmaker former U.S. Congressman and Oklahoma University quarterback J.C. Watts, was suspended indefinitely November 4th.
Coach Jeff Fisher, expressing great disappointment, has now sent a message to all players that the Rams will be taking an aggressive approach towards the issue his team is now faced with, and one specific message to Bailey:
”He understands that this is his last go-around,” said Fisher to reporters. ”If he wants to flourish in this league, have a career in this league, he’s going to have to change his lifestyle.”
Coach Fisher, one of the seemingly cooler coaches in the NFL, is not a coach to mess with, and the loss of two needed players in the midst of recent injuries and offensive woes during a year the Rams were expecting see the fruits of their labor is especially hard — on the team and for any coach to have to deal with in the win-now mindset of NFL society — but the signing of a player of Wes Welker’s stature can only be a positive to a team of mostly youngsters regardless of his production.
Welker, the 34-year-old 4-time Pro Bowl veteran, is said to be in “outstanding” shape and instantly becomes the team’s best route runner and brings valuable knowledge to the youngest team in the league. Despite his career-low 9.5 yards-per average in Denver last season (a number that would make Rams fans ecstatic), his league-leading 2007, 2009, 2011 seasons and numbers of 100+ receptions five of six seasons between 2006 and 2012 make him a credible and valuable asset while increasing the threat potential of their current dynamic combo, Gurley and Austin…provided he can stay out of the way of blood-thirsty safeties and linebackers down the middle.