Well, it happened. The Rams have signed an offensive coordinator who knows how to score points... and lots of them. Even with the new hiring, there still are questions floating around revolving around Pat Shurmur, because I know there are some who wonder if the conservative approach was all on his shoulders last season, or if Spagnuolo had more say in the dink and dunk than what appeared. Regardless, we've moved on.
As it stands right now, we have the Offensive and Defensive Coosrdinators from the Superbowl Champion Giants, and New England Patriots on our sidelines calling the shots. The two met head to head in 2007 with Spagnuolo getting the win.
It leaves me wishing I could be a fly on the wall during some behind the scenes conversations these guys may have concerning that game. Would be quite interesting wouldn't you say?
With McDaniels calling the offensive plays, he has described his style as "balanced and aggressive" as Van pointed out below. It has to leave you wondering how that approach could prove successful with our inside O-Line issues.
How does this change the priority of our off season personnel needs? Find out after the jump.
It's no shocker we have struggled (majorly) with our inside O-Line play, particularly at the Guard position. Many times we saw Adam Goldberg get pancaked on 3rd and short plays, and often bull rushed by more powerful Defensive Tackles forcing Sam to use his athleticism to roll out and bye time.
Look, I'm not knocking Goldberg, I'm just stating that he did struggle this year. Jason Brown didn't have a great year either at Center, but not as bad as Goldberg.
If there is one thing I know, it's that one weak link on the offensive line and lead to a total breakdown because now the other players have to compensate. I firmly believe that is why Jason Brown struggled at times.
You can blame Shurmur all you want for that questionable call in the Seattle game on 3rd and short, where he called a handoff to Karney instead of SJAX. Yes, Steven should have had the ball, but let's be honest here, do you really believe SJAX would have picked up the first down? I'll be optimistic and say he would have had a better shot, but I don't believe he would have.
Looking back at the tape, our inside O-Line got toasted and Karney had no room whatsoever. I know Steven is a phenominal back, but he isn't David Blane. Too many times our Guards got manhandled, particularly in the running game on 3rd and short situations.
To think we did so well on 3rd downs this season is shocking considering this fact. Most of the third down pickups came on passing plays, where Sam rolled out go get the extra time and avoid getting hammered. Of course teams quickly picked up on this (see week 17 Seattle) and defended against it, so the only choice Sam had was to sit in the pocket and check down.
Looking back at the 2007 Patriots, they had an absolute killer offensive line (particularly left side):
LT Matt Light
LG Logan Mankins (ahem, FA this year.. wink wink)
RG Steve Neal (started 8)
RG Russ Hochstein (started 8)
RT Nick Kaczur
One can argue the Giants beat them with a killer pass rush.. but hey, 16-0 has something to say.
I know our WR's aren't superstars, and we DO NEED a stud #1, but a lot of the issues are in fact the offensive line, struggling to block on the inside. The offensive line will need to be shored up before McDaniels will be able to open up the playbook. If the Rams don't do this, we could be in for a long season next year, if there is one to begin with that is.