Improving the fundamentals is an oft-cited cliche of struggling professional sports teams. Of course, having watched the St. Louis Rams stumble their way through a full quarter of the 2011 season, I think we can all agree that the fundamentals have been sorely lacking.
Basic tackling and blocking might be the fundamentals suffering the most. Sam Bradford has already been sacked an alarming 18 times this season, on pace for more than 70 sacks. Much of the responsibility for those sacks and the constant pressure on the QB falls on the shoulders of the offensive line. Not all of it is the fault of the blockers. McDaniels' offensive system has anchored Bradford in the pocket, waiting for routes to develop. The receivers aren't catching the ball or getting separation down the field, and the second-year quarterback has himself struggled with the basics of a new offense. One expert points to another fundamental aspect of QB play hurting Bradford right now:
Going back and looking at video of the Rams' last game, you can still see this. It's an issue that needs to get fixed. More emphasis on the run combined with better play fakes would definitely help push back opposing blitzes.
According to coach Steve Spagnuolo, the Rams will be working on some of these fundamental things this week, looking to get back on track. They have a tall order against the Packers in week 6, any miscue in the fundamentals will bury the Rams.