ST. LOUIS — The Rams’ most improved player since the end of last season? As far as Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is concerned, the clear choice is Brian Quick.
"He’s doing a great job," Schottenheimer said after Tuesday’s OTA session. "Another guy that we’re giving an opportunity to. He’s competing for playing time. He’s made the most of his opportunities. He started today. Again, just moving guys around, in and out of the lineup, trying to create competition and he’s stepped up and again — like Kenny (Britt) — and made a lot of big plays for us."
The Rams’ second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Quick has failed to make much of an impact for St. Louis after his first two NFL seasons — a total of 29 catches for 458 yards and four touchdowns in 31 games.
But Schottenheimer’s words were welcomed by the Appalachian State product, who ranked seventh on the team in receptions in 2013.
"Oh, man," Quick told FOXSportsMidwest.com on Thursday. "It was an honor to see my work get noticed. I couldn’t ask for more. I’m just going out here every day loving what I’m doing, just coming to work every day giving everything I’ve got. It was an honor for him to say that."
What has the wideout done well during OTAs?
"I’m not thinking out there," he said. "I’m playing fast. I’m being competitive, being more physical, and I’m just having fun. Just knowing what you’re doing makes it a lot easier on yourself."
The key for Quick will be turning his success during OTAs into more tangible successes when training camp starts next month and then during the regular season this fall.
Until then, of course, talk is cheap.
But Rams coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead have shown they believe in their group of receivers. They signed former first-round pick Kenny Britt this offseason, along with former Mizzou standout T.J. Moe, but did not use a draft pick on a wideout when many were banging the drum for Clemson playmaker Sammy Watkins.
"I’ve been asked this numerous times, ‘Why didn’t you draft a receiver?’ Well, we drafted two each of the last two years and they are coming on," Fisher told FOXSportsMidwest.com. "So we felt like we had other needs."
The Rams selected Quick in the second round and Chris Givens in the fourth in 2012. A year later they took Tavon Austin at No. 8 overall and his West Virginia teammate, Stedman Bailey, in the third round.
All have shown flashes of potential but are far from proven commodities.
Whether that group can step up, which will go hand in hand with quarterback Sam Bradford’s development and effectiveness, will be one of the biggest story lines to watch for the Rams in 2014.
Quick believes they can.
"We just have to be tuned in," he said. "We have to be focused. Together. We have to come together, just come as one, execute and make sure we make plays. We’re playmakers. That’s why they didn’t draft any receivers, because they believe in us. On that note, we’re going to do what we have to do and we’re going to make the coaches proud."
Quick won’t magically morph into Bears 1,000-yard receiver Alshon Jeffery — a player the Rams passed on when they took Quick — but that doesn’t mean the 6-foot-3, 218-pounder can’t emerge as a key playmaker in the St. Louis passing game.
He has high expectations for his third NFL season.
"Man, I’m going to go out there and I’m going to try to kill it," Quick said. "Make sure we go to the playoffs. Whatever we have to do, whatever I have to do, I’m going to give it my all.
"That’s my goal, just put it all on the field and give it all. Lay it all on the line for the coaches, especially for coach Fish, and Les Snead. Just make sure everything is crisp and make sure they have confidence in me to go out there."