Rams Lose Their #1 Receiver … and Hope?

The loss of Laurent Robinson, out for the year with a broken fibula, is a crushing blow to the Rams’ putative passing game. He wasn’t just our #1 receiver, he is the only Rams receiver — after three weeks of play — to amass 100 yards through the air.

Robinson gained 167 yards on 13 catches. The next two Rams in receiving yards, Randy McMichael and Keenan Burton, combined for 162 yards on 14 catches.

I’m searching for some sort of comparable for a passing game left in such desperate straits, and the most recent I can come up with is the 2007 Dolphins after they traded away Chris Chambers, six games into the season. They had already gifted Wes Welker to the Patriots and released the still-productive Randy McMichael before the season started. Marty Booker was elevated from #3 to #1 on the receiving chart, caught five fewer balls than in 2006, and still led the team with a mere 50 catches for 550 yards.

It’s not the kind of comparison the Rams would like, but looking at the per-game numbers, it’s hard to see much difference:

2007 Dolphins Top 3 Receivers (stats per game):

Player Targets Receptions Yards TDs
Chris Chambers 8.0* 5.1 69.1 0
Marty Booker 7.0 3.33 36.7 0.07
Ronnie Brown 6.5 5.57 55.6 0.14
Ted Ginn, Jr 4.4 2.1 26.25 0.13

2009 Rams Top 3 Receivers (stats per game)

Player Targets Receptions Yards TDs
Laurent Robinson 7.6 4.33 55.7

Donnie Avery 7.0 3.33 30.7 0
Steven Jackson 5.33 3 20.3 0
Randy McMichael 5.0 2.7 27.3 0

The Dolphins went 1-15 that season, their only win coming in their 14th game, on a miracle throw from Cleo Lemon to the utterly unknown Greg Camarillo. Camarillo was a Week 1 waiver pickup who had caught only 3 passes prior to the game-winner.

The way it’s looking, we may need for some undrafted and unknown savior to pull a Greg Camarillo in order to return the Rams to the win column.