Clemens More Than Holding His Own While Leading Rams Offense

Posted Nov 13, 2013

In his typical unassuming style, Kellen Clemens is quick to understate his role in leading the Rams’ offensive attack since Sam Bradford was lost for the season to injury in the team’s Week 7 loss to Carolina.

Since taking over, Clemens has seen steady, week-by-week improvement, culminating in his 9-for-16, 247-yard performance in a 38-8 win over Indianapolis on Sunday. Clemens also threw two touchdown passes to rookie WR Tavon Austin, and ended the day with a career-best passer rating of 140.6. That level of production came despite the Rams’ ground-heavy offensive approach with a substantial second-half lead.

Clemens, who entered this year as a journeyman who had made 12 starts over seven NFL seasons, is quite literally two plays from a potential 3-0 record while at the helm of the Rams’ offense. The Rams came within a last-play pass to the end zone in losses to Seattle and Tennessee in Weeks 8 and 9, respectively.

“I think I’ve gotten more comfortable with each rep, both in practice and in games,” Clemens said. “Fortunately, we were able to get a win on Sunday. I think I’ve gotten more comfortable each week, and hopefully we can continue to make plays and be effective on offense.”

Following Bradford’s announced absence for the remainder of the season, Head Coach Jeff Fisher was quick to name Clemens the Rams’ unquestioned starting quarterback, a level of trust that has made an impact on Clemens.

“It means a lot, no question about it, to have (Fisher) believe in me,” Clemens said. “I think this locker room believes in me, so that certainly makes the transition easier for a guy in my position.”

The success enjoyed by Clemens—and the offense as a whole—can be traced to how quickly he was able to develop a rapport with the Rams’ multitude of young offensive weapons. Clemens has made a concerted effort to speed up the learning curve of those around him, even as his continues his own steady progress while under center.

“He’s one of those guys that expects you – if you’re working or you’re meeting or you’re practicing, to do the best you possibly can,” Fisher said. “He’s got a subtle way of going about that. He encourages guys. One thing, in the huddle – the call’s made and as the huddle’s breaking, and on the way to the line of scrimmage – he’s with the young guys out there. He’s always offering reminders – remember this, this, this, that – and it makes it a little easier on guys, especially the young guys.”

For Clemens, the assistance offered to the younger players has grown increasingly easier as the year has progressed. As the starting quarterback of the NFL’s youngest team, the Rams’ signal-caller has seen raw ability quickly mature into steady production. True to form, Clemens prefers to downplay his own role in that swift development.

“That was an emphasis early on, but these young guys have done a great job,” Clemens said. “They’ve come in, they’ve been pros. They’ve learned the playbook, they’ve learned how to execute in this environment, and they’ve done a really good job. The training wheels are off for those guys, and they’ve been off for a long time. You look at the things they’ve done, we’re excited about the young talent that we have in this locker room.”