The 2011 St. Louis Rams are one long series of disappointments. Pick your favorite. The play of the offensive line sums up the organizational failure quite nicely, for me anyway. That unit represents the nexus of coaching and personnel failures that created the 2-11 product that was embarrassed by the Seahawks last night.
Head coach Steve Spagnuolo pointed to the Rams offensive line in his press conference today as one reason for the team's struggles. "A steep hill to climb," said the coach.
Three of the five starters, Jacob Bell, Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold, all landed on the injured reserve list this season. Some of the backups have even missed time because of injuries. It qualifies as an epidemic.
"I'm sure there are other teams in the league facing similar situations," added the coach in his press conference. "We're finding it very difficult to overcome it."
There are other teams dealing with a banged up offensive line. One of those teams is the Seattle Seahawks, who have also lost three of their starters, including left tackle Russell Okung. Last night, they were even playing with a third string offensive tackle, Paul McQuistan, who was consistently getting beat by the Rams pass rush.
So like the Rams, the Seahawks' offensive line is beset with injuries and a mostly makeshift unit. The difference, well, that should be apparent from the box score. Marshawn Lynch rolled up 115 rushing yards and a touchdown; he topped 100 rushing yards in four of the last five games. Last night's final score, 30-13.
Seattle has won four of their last five games, including wins against the Ravens and the Eagles. They've been without their two of their starters on the line for all but one of those games. They lost Okung last week.
Seattle has been able to coax solid performances from their backups, develop young players and compensate for the injuries. Compare that with the Rams who have failed to get value out of high priced free agents like Jason Brown and Jacob Bell, have taken steps backward with recent draft picks Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith, and have seen their backups get brutalized by opposing defenses with a game plan that looks anything but adaptable.
I realize injuries deserve some blame for the Rams' dismal results this season. That excuse only goes so far. Spagnuolo's Rams are finding their injuries "difficult to overcome" at the same time teams they should be competitive with are finding ways to overcome similar injuries.