Now in his seventh NFL season and second with the St. Louis Rams, working with another new quarterback is nothing new to veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt.
“It’s kind of crazy,” said Britt, who set a career high last season with 48 receptions for 748 yards and three touchdowns. “Each year of my career I had a different quarterback. This is going on my 11th quarterback in my seven-year career. It’s kind of funny, but it’s all about timing and how well you work together on the field and off the field.”
So far, Brittt says he and new Rams quarterback Nick Foles have worked well together. Sure there was the jumped route for an interception Sunday night in Tennessee, but the pair have developed good chemistry throughout the organized team activities (OTAs) and training camp.
“We have a great leader,” Britt said of Foles, obtained from the Philadelphia Eagles in a trade for Sam Bradford. “When he sees something or we do something wrong, he comes up to us immediately so we can get it correct right there and we won’t do it again.”
Perhaps to the surprise of some Rams fans, the team made no major upgrade in the receiving unit during the offseason. Britt was signed to a two-year extension worth $9.15 million in March, but the rest of the unit — including the main tight ends — is unchanged from a year ago.
Tight end Jared Cook led all receivers with 52 catches for 634 yards and three TDs, but running back Benny Cunningham was the next highest on the receptions list with 45 for 352 yards.
An early-season shoulder injury last year to young wideout Brian Quick, who seemed poised for a breakout season with 25 catches for 375 yards and three TDs in just over six games, didn’t help. Neither did the loss of Bradford to a second straight ACL surgery, or another injury, which forced the Rams to use backups Sean Hill and Austin Davis.
Britt said he has been impressed by the progress of Quick, former eighth overall pick Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens.
This might be a critical season for both Austin and Bailey, taken in the first and third rounds, respectively, in the 2013 draft after both starring at the University of West Virginia.
“We’re real excited to get Quick back because he’s a playmaker and a big player in our offense,” Britt said. “We’re definitely going to need him this year. The (young) receivers are actually veterans now, they’re going into their third year and from OTAs to camp you could tell they just got better at each and everything they do.
“They’re seeing the defense better, their routes are getting better and they’re maturing inside the classroom.”
What about the new offense, which includes a new coordinator in Frank Cignetti and quarterbacks coach in Jeff Garcia?
“It’s been going well to tell you the truth,” Britt said. “We picked it up faster than we actually thought we would. There’s some things that we’ve still got to tighten down on and that’s what camp is for, but we look really good. We’re capable of anything, we’ve got weapons all over.”
Again, some Rams fans may disagree with that notion since the first-team offense has provided three points in six possessions through two preseason games. A new quarterback in Foles and more experienced receiving corps does provide hope.
“I’m actually excited because then we can sneak up on people if they want to take us lightly,” said Britt, who has never surpassed 800 receiving yards in a season. “We have real confidence in our offense.”
Rams coach Jeff Fisher continues to downplay any concerns about the offense, or his somewhat vanilla approach to preseason games.
“We’ve only played two games, so I really haven’t looked around the league to see what everybody else is doing,” he said Wednesday. “We haven’t carried a regular season game plan into a preseason game and we won’t.”
Britt said the offensive players aren’t bothered with so much attention paid to what could be one of the NFL’s top defenses.
“Not at all,” Britt said with a smile. “We actually get excited because we know we’ve been kicking their butts since OTAs and in camp. We’ve also got another addition to our backfield in (rookie first-round pick) Todd Gurley and I’m excited to see what our run game can do.”
After five seasons in Tennessee, including four under Fisher, Britt’s career seemed in limbo. Fisher brought him to St. Louis and Britt considers his Rams tenure a second act that he intends to pursue to the fullest.
“I take every play and every rep and I appreciate it,” Britt said. “I actually still feel young right now, to tell you the truth. I feel like I was coming back to my rookie year. I’m back in form and there’s nothing bothering me. I actually had a healthy camp.”