Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff #90 of the Dallas Cowboys applies pressure to quarterback A.J. Feeley #4 of the St. Louis Rams, helped by a tipped snap count from Rams center Jason Brown #60.
The last thing the St. Louis Rams offensive line needs this year is another problem. Seven weeks into the season, St. Louis' front five has been plagued with penalties, protection issues and injuries. Now you can add another problem to the list: tipping the snap count.
Crunching film over at the Playbook blog on NFL.com revealed that Rams center Jason Brown was tipping the snap with a tilt of his head. Tape watchers caught Brown nodding before the snap, which tipped off Dallas nose tackle Jay Ratliff and gave him a big advantage. Brown tried to correct it during the game.
Later in the game, Brown would try and toss in a "fake" head jerk every once and awhile to try and slow down the Cowboys' tackles -- but it didn't work.
You are noticing a theme of poor execution of basic football principles with the Rams, right?
Brown has struggled since the Rams signed him to a five-year, $37.5 million contract in 2009. His most effective season with the Rams was his first. Brown's blocking has improved somewhat thanks to the addition of Harvey Dahl at right guard, but hardly enough to justify the contract.
It's true that the Rams only allowed one sack against the Cowboys, but credit Feeley for that. For as unimpressive as he was, he did manage to get the ball out of his hands fast enough to dodge pressure. The pocket did hold up reasonably better than it has in most games this season, no small feat considering the center was tipping the snap count.
Getting more value out of the offensive line, one which will surely feature a few new faces, is a top priority for whoever ends up coaching the Rams in 2012.