So far, the 2011 Rams have been defined by the letter “W”.
A “W” that stands for “waste”, not “wins”.
They have wasted field position, red zone opportunities and catchable passes but they are making a grave mistake by wasting the most precious commodity the offense has.
As writers from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pointed out, his knees are shaky and his long-term health is important, but St. Louis needs to take the training wheels off the biggest threat the team has to move the ball.
Last season, Alexander was one of only two St. Louis receivers who had a positive defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) and a positive defense-adjusted yards above replacement (DYAR), according to Football Outsiders.
These may seem complicated but DVOA just accounts for both total yards and yards towards a first down and DYAR measures what value a player has in an offense measured in yards compared to his replacement that comes in when Alexander takes plays off.
Alexander had a 43 DYAR with the nearest competitor, Brandon Gibson, finishing with a 20 DYAR and was on par with Mike Hoomanawanui for a 1 percent DVOA.
His catch rate in 2010 was at 55 percent after hauling in 20 of his 37 targets but the most important statistic may be his yards per catch, 15.3 and how he was targeted on 22 percent of “bomb” plays.
Brandon Gibson, Mark Clayton and Danny Amendola were targeted a combined 18 percent of the time on “bomb” plays.
These stats show the obvious need for the Rams to attack defenses downfield with Alexander, even if it means just tossing the ball up and having him go after it.
Seemed to work pretty well with Plaxico Burress while Spags was in New York and Randy Moss while Josh McDaniels was in New England.
Moss alone averaged 1,251 yards, 17 touchdowns and 14.9 yards-per-catch under McDaniels with the Patriots. Granted, he had Tom Brady but there is no reason Alexander can’t become Mini-Moss in this Rams offense.
Watching the Giants game was a prime example of what his combination of athleticism and height can do to a secondary.
His stat-line: Three receptions for 122 yards and the only touchdown the Rams managed on Monday Night Football. His yards-per-catch average was 40.7
Alexander is not Burress or Moss but needs to be utilized more often for the Rams to stretch the field until Mike Sims-Walker and Brandon Gibson become consistent or Mark Clayton returns from injury.
Until then, St. Louis will continue seeing more wasted opportunities than wins in the standings column.