ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 11: Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams ruses for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
I'm not sure what to make of the St. Louis Rams offensive line through two games. There's a Jekyll and Hyde aspect to them. Bradford has been pressured some, but also had some beautiful pockets in which to work. The running game didn't get much going last week, but the run blocking is definitely better. Part of the problem is that we lack an adequate sample size to drill down the issues. Like the defensive struggles with the Eagles' rushing attempts, a series here or there can swing the numbers. Nevertheless, there are some very good signs that the Rams run blocking has definitely improved over last season.
Ten of the Rams' 45 rushing attempts have gone up the middle. Right guard Harvey Dahl seems to be provided the extra umph the Rams hoped for when adding the free agent. In those ten attempts through middle, the Rams average a league-best 11 yard gain. At right guard, they have an average gain of six yards, sixth-best. Those numbers up the middle are influenced by Steven Jackson's TD run in week one, a good reminder that the sample size here is very small.
Last year, get this, the Rams had an average gain of just 2.87 yards on all runs through the middle, the second-worst mark in the league. At right guard, their average gain in 2010 was 3.1 yards, 28th worst.
Above is the direction breakdown for the Rams running game. Dahl is obviously helping things in the middle, but a few other players get some credit here too. Lance Kendricks hasn't been used enough in the passing game, but his blocking has really helped the Rams. There's room for improvement on the left side, but these numbers are all weighed pretty heavily by a Giants defensive front that can play the run pretty tough.
More than anything, it's a reminder that the Rams could really use Steven Jackson, and once they get him back, run the ball more. There's no doubt in my mind that Jackson's presence would have made a difference in the Rams goal-to-go situations last week. Not only does he have more power than Cadillac Williams, it would force the defense to commit at least a safety to the box rather than smothering everyone in man coverage.
Taken with Sam Bradford's numbers so far, the signs are there that the Rams offense is due from some rebound.