Bernie wrote an article this morning about how our dink and dunk passing game hurts us. I actually agree with Bernie this time. It doesn't seem like Bernie's usual reactionary garbage. Check it while I wreck it.
The Rams have to take some shots downfield. I understand the wisdom of putting rookie QB Sam Bradford in high-percentage passing situations in an effort to build his confidence and comfort level and minimize mistakes. This is a process. And to this point offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and QBs coach Dick Curl have done a very good job in helping Bradford in his transition to the NFL. And I had plenty of concerns about Curl's effectiveness. But so far, everything has been fine. But now it's also time to expand a bit. Here's one of the problems: Bradford and the Rams do not try to stretch a defense. There is virtually no threat of the deep pass, and opposing defensive coordinators know it. Without having to worry about getting burned downfield, coordinators can clamp down on all of the Rams' short passes. That makes it even harder for the Rams' receivers to get yards after the catch.
According to STATS LLC, the Rams have attempted the second-lowest number of passes in which the ball is in the air for 21+ yards. Only Miami, with 9, has attempted fewer deep balls than the Rams (10). On attempts of 21+ yards, Bradford is only 2 of 10 with an interception. His passer rating of 17.9 on 21+ throws is the worst in the league. Yes, I realize the Rams are not stocked with an arsenal of deep receiving threats. It's a problem. And that problem has been made even more severe with the season-ending loss of WR Mark Clayton. But still, you can't go into the shell. You have to let the defense know that you're willing to throw it over the top. The Rams have to give defensive coordinators something else to think about when they're plotting strategy against Bradford and the Rams. Perhaps Danario Alexander can help the cause.
It makes sense for the Rams to milk the clock and try to maintain possession to keep the ball away from the high-scoring Chargers. And the Chargers will expect that, too. The element of surprise for the deep pass will be there for the Rams on Sunday.