We get it, the NFL Pro Bowl voting is more about having your name ring out for an extended period of time than anything else. And while the St Louis Rams have kicked and shoved their way back to respectability, they haven't had one transcendent player elevate his game to that superstar level.
They may not have had one, but they have had parts of two.
Aside from Steven Jackson, the names getting the most attention among Rams skill players are Danny Amendola ("Sam's security blanket") and Chris Givens ("the keeper league special"). The trouble is, thanks to the rookie learning curve and ever-present health issues, neither one has been able to put together a complete enough season to challenge the game's upper tier.
Here's a look at the NFC Pro Bowl inductees at wide receiver, and how Amendola's and Givens' stats rank up in the NFL:
Calvin Johnson (DET): 117 catches (1) on 188 targets (1), 1892 yds (1), 5 TDs (T-29)
Brandon Marshall (CHI): 113 catches (2) on 169 targets (T-2), 1466 yds (2), 11 TDs (T-3)
Julio Jones (ATL): 76 catches (15) on 121 targets (15), 1142 yds (11), 10 TDs (6)
Victor Cruz (NYG): 82 catches (10) on 131 targets (9), 1040 yards (14), 9 TDs (7)
Danny Amendola: 59 catches (33), 92 targets (39), 639 yards (50), 3 TDs (T-54)
Chris Givens: 40 catches (63), 75 targets (49), 644 yards (49), 3 TDs (T-54)
Not so impressive. But here's the thing: each player alternated time as Sam's primary target, thanks mostly to the lingering effects of Amendola's heel injury and Givens' San Francisco curfew adventure.
If you go week to week (and we're cheating a little bit here by bringing in Brandon Gibson's huge game against Buffalo where both Givens and Amendola were gimpy), you can add up Sam's primary targets and get a pretty fine season:
Sum total: better in every respect, save touchdowns, than Julio Jones or Victor Cruz. Can you say SNUBBED!?!?
Okay, so we're not really suggesting that Pro Bowl voters need to consider random bloggers' frankenstein creations, but hopefully what this gives us is an idea of what it could look like if either player (or both) put together a complete season. In Amendola's case, that might be hard to imagine given the reckless abandon that he plays with, and the punishment he takes accordingly. But for Givens, the future is quite bright.
It's also worth noting that these stats don't approach the superhuman levels of a Megatron or a Brandon Marshall. The Rams just don't have that kind of player on the roster. (Few teams do.)
But if you look at the Pro Bowl resumes of Julio Jones or Victor Cruz (or a more deserving snub in Dez Bryant), each one has a complementary threat on the roster to draw coverage away and create opportunities. That is the real hopeful takeaway here, as the entire roster of receivers continues to develop and improve. The more legitimate weapons that Sam Bradford has on the field, the less defenses can focus on trying to shut down any one, and the more potent our offense becomes.