WR Chris Givens, Free agent
HT: 5-11, WT: 198, Born: 12-6-1989, College: Wake Forest, Drafted: Round 4
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After a promising rookie season in 2012, Chris Givens' progression halted as a quality deep threat last season. Givens had a single game over 60 receicing yards and was held without a touchdown on the season. Sam Bradford missed the second half of the year, but Givens struggled in the first half as well when the St.Louis passing game was productive. Sam Bradford's protection will be key to Givens having high-leverage downfield targets this season. Other than taking a flyer on Kenny Britt, the Rams had the same passing game weapons from a year ago and an improved offensive line. In year three, this is make-it or break-it time for Givens, who was an above-average receiver prospect in 2011.
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - In game 1, Givens was the biggest casualty in the passing game, and he was only able to haul in two receptions, and didnít get open deep downfield. Givensí first reception came on a crossing pattern in the first quarter. Givens got the pass, broke a tackle and got ahead for a solid 14 yard gain.
Then at the end of the first half, Bradford was under heavy pressure, rolled to his right and hit Givens on a curl route for 12 yards. Those were Givensí only two receptions, as his role was limited to that of a decoy on this night. Whether he remains the 3rd option on this offense remains to be seen. But the Rams seem determined to get Cook and Austin involved, so he could be very streaky this season.
Week 2 - Givens was the decoy in week 1, and he was the aggressor in week 2. After catching an early slant pass for 13 yards, Givens went deep on 3rd and 10, down 21-0. Givens easily got behind the CB, got separation, and made the reception on the deep ball from Bradford. Unfortunately for the Rams, that big play only culminated in a field goal. In the second half, we saw Givens running the routes underneath that resulted from the deep coverage focusing on Cook. Givens took two slant passes for long yardage, getting a 15 yard gain on one, and then making a shoestring catch, eluding a defender and running for 20 yards on the second reception. Overall Givens rebounded well. The Cook and Givens duo can stretch defenses vertically, as well as across the middle of the field. You canít double-team them both, and Bradford did a great job of getting the ball to Givens and allowing him to have a big day.
Week 3 - Givens and Bradford at times look great, and at times just arenít on the same page. Early in the game, a mis-communication on 2nd down led to another stalled drive. Later on, Givens got open in the middle of the field, and Bradford nails him for a 24 yard gain, that was negated as Givens fumbled the ball at the end of the run. On the next drive, Bradford was under heavy pressure, but he finally escaped, rolled out and hit Givens on a curl route. Givens broke a tackle and fought for 29 yards in his biggest gain of the day. On the goalline a slant pass to Givens was thrown too far out in front of him by Bradford. Then later on in the game, Bradford went to Givens downfield on 4th and 4 and Givens got completely turned around, and wasnít able to even make a play on the ball.
Then later on, Givens ran a post pattern and was open for what would have been a 20 yard gain, but he dropped the pass, ending his miserable day. Givens looked like a rookie today, and if the Rams are going to take steps, heís going to have to be a consistent downfield threat.
Week 4 - Bradford opened the game with a pretty back shoulder throw to Givens for a 13 yard-gain. In the second quarter, Givens ran a 15-yard comeback route, and Bradford hit him with a perfectly thrown ball in the middle of the zone and Givens turned it into a 20 yard gain. Givens seems to have it figured out more than the rest of the team. Unfortunately, Bradford doesnít seem to have the time to get Givens open downfield, and so his numbers again werenít that great.
But for a guy who made a lot of 40+ yard catches last year, those have been notably absent over the last few games. With the Rams struggling to incorporate Austin and Cook into the lineup, it wouldnít be surprising to see them begin to focus on Givens and Pettis, the two receivers that Bradford seems to have the best rapport with.
Week 5 - Givens had one big play in the game. He caught a slant pass, broke the tackle and gained 15 on the play. Givens also completely burnt the DB on a deep pass, getting a few yards behind him, but Bradford hung the ball in the air, and the DB was able to bat it away. Another deep pattern was evidently supposed to be a comeback route, and Givens ran a fly route, resulting in an incompletion. Although Givens is the big-play receiver on this team, Bradford has had a very difficult time getting him the ball, and his numbers have suffered as a result. The emergence of Pettis, Austin and Cook are also taking targets away from Givens. The Rams need to do a better job of getting the ball downfield to Givens, as this could open up the entire offense. But for now, they are only sprinkling in targets to him from time to time.
Week 6 - Givens had a chance to have a nice day. Bradford hit him on the first drive on a screen pass, and Givens made a man miss and got 13 yards. Then Givens got a 7 yard gain on a crossing route. But his short passes setup a potential TD. On their own 20, Bradford launched a deep pass to Givens, who had easily gotten behind the secondary. Bradfordís pass looked picture perfect, coming down right in front of Givens. But for some reason, Givens didnít extend his arms far enough, and the ball fell off his fingertips. The inability for Givens and Bradford to connect downfield has been a drain on this offense, and Givens had his chance here.
Week 7 - Givens has one catch, a pass across the middle that he turned upfield for 24 yards. At this point, Givens is really losing ground on the other wrís. He is fast and big, but hasnít been able to win the trust of Bradford and get a lot of targets. Heís beginning to get lost in the mix.
Week 8 - Givens was the only receiver with a decent game. In the first half, Clemens hit Givens twice, both times underneath for short yardage when the defense was giving up short passes to protect against the Rams getting first downs. Then in the second half, Clemens settled down and he hit Givens for two 20+ yard gains. Givens is a fluid receiver, but didnít seem to get a lot of targets from Bradford. Clemens likely wonít spread the ball around as much as Bradford. This being the case, it appears that Givens could be the primary receiver much more often. If this is the case, he could actually see his numbers improve, as Clemens focuses more on him. On the final drive, he ran a simple hook route, caught the ball, avoided a defender and picked up a big 21 yard gain. Givens also got a 16 yard gain on a reverse that threw the Seahawks for a loop. It will be interesting to see if Givens can continue his solid play against the Titans next week.
Week 9 - Givens looked fast and spry, and is becoming the primary receiving target of Clemens. Clemens isnít going to work the ball around like Bradford, and Givens may become the primary beneficiary of that. That being said, he was still only used on short slant passes and routes that donít take advantage of his speed. Only in desperation time did he make a big play, and that was only a 25 yarder in the final minutes of the game. Givens is a deep-ball receiver without a deep-ball QB. Heís likely to disappoint for the remainder of the season.
Week 10 - Givens has made a living on crossing routes this season, and he continued his work with 2 receptions on deep crossing routes for big yardage. Givens has the size and speed to provide a matchup problem for the defense, and this was an especially big problem when the Colts played man-to-man. He smoked his defender both times and almost scored on his second reception, hauling in a 35 yard pass and taking it down to the 2 yard line. After the big lead, the Rams offense went into a shell, and so the opportunities were limited for Givens. But Clemens clearly looks to him, and big weeks are ahead for this talented 2nd year wideout.
Week 12 - Givens is the forgotten man in the transition to a running offense. Clemens did look his way once on a deep route, but the two donít seem to have good chemistry and Givens was unable to come up with the deep ball. Givens didnít record a catch, and doesnít seem to be doing a good job of carving out a role on this offense.
Week 13 - Givens continued his horrific play. He dropped an easy deep ball on 3rd and 1 when the game was actually in reach. He did have a couple catches, but one was in garbage time and the 49ers were in prevent. After Quickís strong 4th quarter, perhaps the Rams should look at replacing Givens with Quick, as Givens just isnít giving the Rams anything in the passing game.
Week 14 - Givens continued his quiet play. He picked up 21 yards on the first drive on a deep post route. But the Rams spread the ball around, and so Givens never caught another pass the rest of the game. Heís merely a role player at this point.
Week 15 - Givens had one long play, but the only reason he was able to get the 31 yard gain is because his defender fell down on the quick slant. Once he fell down, Givens had a wide open field to run through, but this was his only reception of the day.
Week 16 - Just another guy now, Givens did make one big play, hauling in a 21 yard catch on the sideline. It was an impressive display of leaping ability as the throw was high and Givens had to jump high in the air to retrieve it.
Week 17 - Clemens tried to look Givens way deep downfield on two occasions. On the first, Givens tripped over his own feet and couldnít even make a play on the ball. On the second, Clemens through it into triple coverage and it was intercepted. Overall 2013 was a nightmare campaign for Givens. Givens had fewer receptions, fewer yards and never scored a TD. A horrible year for a player that many thought was ready to break out.