Stedman Bailey learned to be patient last season as a rookie, and the start of this season will be no different. Despite a stellar college career at West Virginia, Bailey participated in only four plays at wide receiver through his first eight NFL games in 2013. He didn’t have a pass thrown his way by a quarterback until Game 9 against Tennessee. (Punter Johnny Hekker missed connections on a throw Bailey’s way on a fake punt in Game 3.) It wasn’t until the final five games that Bailey saw appreciable playing time at wide receiver, including starts at Arizona and Seattle. He had 15 catches for 195 yards over that five-game stretch, showing enough promise that he figured to be a starter — or at least a strong contender for a starting position in 2014. Then came that four-game NFL suspension for violating league policy on performance-enhancing substances. Once the preseason ends, Bailey won’t be seen again until mid-October — the Rams’ Monday night home game against San Francisco on the 13th to be exact. Which is a shame for the Rams because Bailey looks like he’s poised for a breakout season based on his practice performance in the first week and a half of training camp. “Yes, we’ll miss him,” coach Jeff Fisher said following Saturday’s FanFest practice at the Edward Jones Dome. “But he’s gonna push right through camp and will get through his ordeal, and we’ll get him right back in the lineup.” Along with Kenny Britt and Brian Quick, Bailey has been the most impressive pass-catcher thus far in camp. Saturday in the dome was no different, when he was quarterback Sam Bradford’s favorite target during 11-on-11, 2-minute, and red zone periods.
Bailey shines but will disappear in September
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Aug 4