The St. Louis Rams made a pretty strong case today as the worst team in the league. Desperate for win, the Rams started lifeless and ended flat. Sam Bradford was sacked seven times, the team drew ten flags and dropped more than five balls. A handful of fans who braved the Ed Jones Dome for the game showered the home team with boos and sarcastic claps. The week ahead will be a stormy for the Rams coaching staff and front office.
The custom for these recaps has been to diagnose the trouble areas, but there isn't any point in that today. The Rams failed collectively. The offense, defense, special teams and each unit within those all fell well short of expectations. If head coach Steve Spagnuolo was not on the hot seat prior to this game, he ought to be now.
The run defense, supposedly bolstered by the addition of DT Justin Bannan and linebacker Brady Popinga and Ben Leber, allowed a total of 196 yards rushing. The new additions to the roster mean nothing because the whole unit has been so terrible, far worse than last year's group which had major issues at outside linebacker.
On offense, dropped passes and woeful pass protection combined to hold the Rams to just 172 total yards of offense. Bradford continued his struggles this week, picking up a sack or two of his own holding the ball too long. It's clear too that Bradford is having a difficult adjustment to making his own protection calls. His receivers let him down with drops and the inability to separate. It's hard not to look back at the offseason decision not to try and sign free agent Sidney Rice. The Rams clearly need a receiver capable of making plays, catching the ball.
But one free agent, though it would have helped, would not have made the difference the Rams need. The failures of this team now rest squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff. From the opening kick, it was clear that the Rams had not resolved any of the problems that dogged them in the last three weeks. Steve Spagnuolo's team did not come ready to play.
Tomorrow afternoon, he'll deliver his usual Monday press conference, with his usual talking points about being unhappy with where the team is and not focusing on the past...blah, blah, blah. And as usual, the St. Louis media will refuse to press Spagnuolo on the matter. One member of the local gaggle laughably wondered aloud on Twitter today about the coaches' lack of preparation and accountability. Ten bucks says that question doesn't get asked tomorrow.
And that's fine. The press, with a couple notable exceptions, may fail in their accountability, but I suspect Stan Kroenke will not. Billionaires don't become billionaires by accepting excuses. Butted up against the salary cap, spending money is not an issue for the Rams. It used to be that talent was the problem, but, even with a few exceptions, this Rams roster is a much better one, on pure talent, than the group that won seven game last year.
This Rams team will not win seven games. They'll be lucky to win two with this kind of play. There needs to be some accountability.