ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The last time St. Louis Rams receiver Keenan Burton was on the field he tied an NFL career high with five catches and the 54 yards was a personal best.
If the records seem modest, remember that Burton is a second-year player for a team that is not exactly an offensive powerhouse. But in that game, two weeks ago, Burton helped the Rams snap a 17-game losing streak with a 17-10 win at Detroit.
"I love playing football and I'm grateful for the opportunity," Burton said Friday. "I try to do what they ask me to do."
The Rams (1-7) will be asking everyone to contribute this Sunday when they host New Orleans (8-0). So far, coaches like what they are seeing from Burton.
After the season-ending injury to Laurent Robinson in Week 3, Burton moved into the starting lineup. Since then, he has 25 receptions for 253 yards and has caught a pass in 16 consecutive games. He has five or more catches in three of the past four games.
That production by Burton has impressed rookie coach Steve Spagnuolo.
"This particular week, I thought he had a real good week of practice," Spagnuolo said. "He looks real confident to me in what he's doing out there. He's really helping all those other guys out there. He's very smart, a real pro. I think he's doing a really good job."
Pat Shurmur, the Rams' offensive coordinator, said he has seen steady development from Burton.
"Keenan is a guy that everybody would love to have on their team anywhere," Shurmur said. "He is a very steady guy, very detailed, learns exactly what we are asking him to do and then he goes out there and executes."
Veteran quarterback Marc Bulger likes what he has seen from Burton. Getting in synch with a receiver takes time but he believes Burton's work ethic is paying off.
"He's learning. I've always said it's just a lot of repetitions and experience in this league," Bulger said. "He's starting to get that. He's willing to learn. We get to talk a lot during practice. He asks the coaches questions. He has a great attitude which I think is going to help pay off when he really starts becoming one of the best receivers in the league."
That's Burton's goal. He enjoyed a prolific career at Kentucky, where he ranks fourth with 182 receptions. He had 2,320 yards and 25 touchdowns for coach Rich Brooks, who coached the Rams their first two years in St. Louis before being fired.
"I talk to coach Brooks often," Burton said. "I actually look at his picture every day because it reminds me of how things were at Kentucky and gives me the extra motivation that anything is possible."
Burton's role model as a pro is Torry Holt, now with Jacksonville after being released by the Rams in the offseason.
"Torry was the best thing that ever happened to me," Burton said. "He gave me a lot of knowledge. He taught me how to practice, what to look for. I watched him take care of his body, how to eat and things like that. He's one of the most professional guys that I've been around. I don't think it gets any better than Torry Holt."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)