The Tour De Britt has finally concluded and all the speculation of his future landing spot can finally end. St. Louis is a prime location for Kenny Britt, despite most people hoping he’d end up in New England or Carolina. Jeff Fisher has seen Britt’s best seasons and he’ll do his due diligence to get him back in to a situation to build off of some past glory. How will this impact the St. Louis Rams wide receiving corps? Let’s examine.
There is a very good possibility this is the death knell for Austin Pettis. Britt, when running on all cylinders, has much more upside than Pettis and is the same age (25). In fact, despite being in the NFL for five years already, Kenny Britt is only one year older than Brian Quick. Expect Britt to reduce Quick’s role dramatically. Amidst a plethora of young wide receivers, Britt brings a lot of game experience and is the only player in that corps to ever taste some sort of success at the professional level. As was stated in the DLF article, “Is Britt Still a Fit,” last season was a perplexing year for the fifth year receiver. He seemed hesitant to get hit and lacked focus. Even when the ball was delivered right on his numbers, he alligator armed it while looking for the incoming defender. Perhaps having Jeff Fisher as his coach again will calm him down and allow him to regain his confidence. The history between Fisher and Britt made this signing almost seem like a default move once Britt was guaranteed to be leaving Tennessee. Now it has come to fruition and his owners should be excited.
In 2011, New York Jets Offensive Coordinator Brian Schoettenheimer, now the Rams Offensive Coordinator, had a couple of receivers who moderately compared to the St. Louis receiving corps. Plaxico Burress was the “big” receiver and Santonio Holmes was the shifty, versatile receiver. Kenny Britt has good size (not quite as big as Burress, but close) and he has the ability to be used all over the field like Holmes.
For conjecture, let’s assume Britt takes on a hybrid of Burress’ and Holmes’ roles. Burress caught 45 balls, including eight touchdowns in 2011 and Holmes caught 51 passes for eight touchdowns that year. Plaxico Burress made his mark in the red zone – Britt could comfortably fill that role if he can reestablish his confidence and throw his weight around. I think Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Stedman Bailey will play more of the “Holmes” role, but Britt could get his piece of that action, too. I’m not assuming Shoettenheimer replicates his old play calling from New York, but I do think he could weave some of those plays into the St. Louis playbook.
We have to keep in mind, Brian Schoettenheimer lost his job in New York due to passing too much for Rex Ryan’s taste. Like Rex Ryan, Jeff Fisher shares the run-first mentality and loves to pound opposing defenses on the ground. The Rams will use Zac Stacy a lot, but with a healthy Sam Bradford, expect to see a lot of pigskin flying. The Rams averaged 37 passes per game when Bradford was under center last season, before he went down with a torn ACL in week seven.
In reality, the patient fantasy owners who have been holding onto Britt in hopes he’d land somewhere advantageous, may be let down. In fact, I’m pretty sure his price has dropped a little bit since the news broke of him signing with the Rams earlier today, but this offense is underrated and hasn’t hit its stride yet. When player price drops, value usually increases. Bradford is about to embark on a last chance season with the Rams and newly signed veteran backup Shaun Hill has shown he is more than capable of carrying a team on his back in a dire situation. This passing game will be in good hands if Sam Bradford can’t stay healthy or if he falters. People value players differently and not many things affect the perspective of the fantasy community like a change of scenery. It is always good to test the trade winds when a player lands on a new team, if nothing else than to see how the current owner feels about the news. If you haven’t acquired Britt yet, don’t be scared off just because he didn’t end up in a Patriots uniform. Kenny Britt has a favorable opportunity with the Rams to go from the garbage pile to a weekly starter, especially if he remains healthy and motivated.