Bill Belichick: ‘We have a lot of respect’ for Chris Givens and his big-play ability
|10.25.12 at 11:26 am ET|
FOXBORO — Over the first seven games of the season, the Patriots have yielded 38 pass plays of 20 yards or more, and on Sunday against the Rams, the guy most likely to make it 39 is likely wide receiver Chris Givens.
The rookie out of Wake Forest isn’t the Rams’ No. 1 option in the passing game — he has 10 catches for 270 yards and a touchdown in his first year in the NFL — but his speed makes him something special. He ran a 4.41 at the combine last February, and the fourth-round pick has used those jets to put together a streak of four straight games where he’s caught a pass of 50 yards or more.
‘Givens has really made some big plays for them. He really hasn’t had that many opportunities, but the ones he’s had, he’s hit big on,’ said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. ‘They’ve also used him some in the return game, so that’s something — they’ve used several different returners, so I’m not sure exactly who we’ll see, but we have a lot of respect for him and he’s definitely given them an element of big plays.’
According to Belichick, the loss of wide receiver Danny Amendola — who went down with a clavicle injury earlier this month in a win over the Cardinals — has forced quarterback Sam Bradford and the St. Louis passing game to become more egalitarian. Belichick compared with the Rams have done in the passing game to what happened with the Jets, who started spreading the ball around more after Santonio Holmes went down with an injury.
As a result, the Rams now have seven players with at least 10 receptions.
‘They really use everybody — they use all of their receivers. It looks like they have a lot of confidence in all of them,’ Belichick said. ‘They work the ball around pretty good. I don’t think they’re just locked into one guy — although Amendola is clearly a go-to guy for them, but I’d say since then, they’ve done a good job of spreading the ball around. Kind of similar to last week, really, to when Holmes went out, and how it balanced the offense out for the Jets. I’d say it’s a little bit of the same thing with the Rams. They seem to be really more balanced now and less of one go-to guy.
‘They have an explosive team,’ he added. ‘I think it’s a well-balanced team. They’re probably balance is a little better now without Amendola, although I’m sure they miss his playmaking skills. I’m not saying that. It seems like the ball now has gotten spread evenly around to everybody — tight ends, backs and receivers.’