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Rams

Rams offense might be struggling, but veteran receiver Kenny Britt is a bright spot

Kenny Britt

Rams receiver Kenny Britt catches a touchdown pass in front of Panthers defensive back James Bradberry late in the fourth quarter of a game Nov. 6 at the Coliseum.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The offense ranks last in the NFL scoring, next to last in total yards and 28th among 32 teams in passing.

And yet, despite the struggles, Rams receiver Kenny Britt is producing a career season.

Britt, an eighth-year pro, goes into Sunday’s game at New Orleans with a career-high 49 receptions for 736 yards.

“I’m at a good point in my life all around — on the field and off the field,” said Britt, 28. “I have a coaching staff that believes in me. The game is fun right now to me.”

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Britt, a first-round draft pick from Rutgers in 2009, has played nearly his entire career for Coach Jeff Fisher, first with the Tennessee Titans and the last two-plus seasons with the Rams.

Through 10 games, Britt already has eclipsed the previous-best 48 passes he caught for the Rams in 2014. He is within 39 yards of the career-high 775 he amassed for the Titans in 2010, when he scored nine touchdowns.

Fisher said this season’s performance was “probably the best” he’s seen from the 6-foot-3, 215-pound  Britt, and he credited first-year receivers coach Mike Groh for helping the veteran elevate his game.

“Physically, he’s feeling better than he’s ever felt,” Fisher said of Britt, who has scored three touchdowns. “He’s out every day at practice, he’s working, it’s important to him, he understands. … I’m hoping that Kenny finishes really strong in the second half of the season.”

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So, no doubt, does Britt.

He is earning about $4.5 million in the final year of his contract.

The Rams in August signed Tavon Austin to a four-year, $42-million extension, but Britt has emerged as the most productive receiver. Austin has 40 catches for 356 yards and two touchdowns.

Britt will be a free agent after the season, but he said in August that he would like to remain with the Rams.

“I want to be one of the guys that sets the platform for the next years to come with the L.A. Rams,” he said during training camp.

This week, he said he was not thinking about a new contract.

“Right now, my focus is on the season and finishing strong,” he said. “My family loves it here and I love playing for Coach Fisher.

“It’s a beautiful place to be.”

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Britt’s biggest game came against Detroit, when he caught seven passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns, including a spectacular one-handed, tumbling catch for a 47-yard reception.

Last week against Miami, in rookie quarterback Jared Goff’s first start, Britt had five receptions, including one for 19 yards that set up a Todd Gurley touchdown run.

The transition from Case Keenum to Goff was no problem, Britt said, because he worked with both extensively during the off season.

The Rams offense, he said, is poised to produce in the final six games.

“That’s my first and foremost goal,” he said. “To finish strong and let people know that we have a talented offense and team here.”

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Saints rookie Michael Thomas, who played at Woodland Hills Taft High, is the top receiver for the NFL’s top-ranked passing offense.

He has 56 catches for 681 yards and five touchdowns.

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Thomas, the nephew of three-time Pro Bowl receiver Keyshawn Johnson, was a second-round draft pick from Ohio State.

 “When you select someone in the second round, you’re hopeful you’re getting a contributor right away,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said. “We spent a lot of time on him as a player and he’s very competitive. I think he does a good job after the catch.”

Thomas’ growth since the start of the season has been “unbelievable” quarterback Drew Brees said.

“Slowly and steadily, from week to week, you just kind of see the light bulb come on,” Brees said, adding, “In the beginning, it was just kind of – I think you’re still finding out a lot about each other, and you’re trying to see the things he does best.

“I’m glad we’re able to open up the playbook for him, and incorporate him in a lot of things.”

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesklein


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