ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams gets up slowly after taking a hit during the game against the Baltimore Ravens on September 25, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The St. Louis Rams look horrible on the field. There isn't a way around this fact. Going into the season, it was known that the Rams had a hard schedule. It was known that the Rams didn't have a long time to work on their new offense. It was also known that the vets would take some time to adjust.
No one would have thought the Rams would have lost the first three games the way they have been losing them. Do the Rams have a lot of talent? Of course not, but they have good key players. At least that's what it looked like. it's hard to say that now that many of those key players aren't playing great. Honestly, it doesn't look like it's a lack of talent out there; the Rams have beaten themselves mostly this season.
This team does not look like a coach Spags team. Last season, the Rams looked hungry. This season it looks like the Rams don't have drive. Injuries hurt the team. The lockout hurt the team. That's obvious, and it's a good excuse. It's just an excuse though. It would be different if the Rams looked like they didn't belong on the same field as the other team. Sunday was the only time it looked like the Rams were outmatched.
It's easy to blame the coaches, but they draw the game plan, and it's up to the players to execute it. It's time for the players to perform.
You have to feel for Bradford. He has to deal with another new offensive system without the benefit of a full off-season not to mention average weapons, and an overpayed offensive line. Being a Rams quarterback has to be a hard working environment.
Let's not act like Bradford has been playing perfectly. He has been bad in the redzone. Bradford also has thrown a few bad balls that could have resulted in first downs, and made some bad decisions that could have resulted in touchdowns. It's getting hard to overlook things like Bradford staring down a WR, overthrowing players in the end zone, or just making horrible choices. One play that stands out to me is when Bradford could have took a sack against the Eagles, but he tried to pry away, and gets the ball knocked out of his hand for a fumble, returned for a touchdown. Honestly, it looks like he is starting to regress out there. This is really a sophomore slump.
Blame on Bradford: 8
This is probably the only position that hasn't played horribly. Steven Jackson hasn't played much since his injury in week one, but he doesn't look bad. When Jackson comes back into the lineup, fully healthy he should have a strong season. Cadillac has really picked up the slack since Steven Jackson has been injured. Besides the half-hearted catch attempt in the backfield versus the Giants which was returned for a touchdown, he has played really well. Jerious Norwood looks good on kickoff returns, but right now it looks like he won't be a big part of the offense.
Blame on the running backs: 2
There are not many people who think the Rams wide receivers aren't horrible; well, I must be one of the few. They aren't the best, but they're decent. The Rams should be able to win with this group. Salas looked good at getting separation, and when he finally gets past the wall, he could be good addition. Austin Pettis had a bad preseason, but looked good Sunday. Pettis and Salas will be good players in the future.
However, the other wide receivers haven't been really great. Mike Sims-Walker shows up and then disappears the next week. Danario Alexander has the most talent out there, but will the knee allow him to be an every down guy? Brandon Gibson looks like a real good number two. The problem is, there is no clear cut number one. When the Rams get Danny Amendola and Mark Clayton back, the team will be in good shape.
Blame on the wide receivers: 7
The Rams offensive line is the biggest disappointment of the season right now. Sam Bradford isn't going to get 10 seconds to pass the ball, but it's looking like he's not getting two seconds back there. Sometimes the line plays good, but never for a whole quarter. It's embarrassing to see this unit getting paid so much and they aren't producing. Every team has been killing the Rams offensive line. The Rams played some good defenses, but the way they are playing is pathetic. The first half of the Ravens game was horrible for the offensive line. I don't put much stock in them doing better in the 2nd half in that game.
The O-Line can run block really well. In fact, this is probably the best run blocking the Rams have seen for sometime. The problem with that is that the Rams want to be able to pass the ball also. The biggest telling point is the fact that number two pick in the 2009 draft was benched for Adam Goldberg. The line needs time to gel, but right now they don't look impressive.
Blame on the offensive line: 10
Going into the season, the Rams were high using the two-TE system. Big Mike and Lance Kendricks were supposed to have the type of season that the young TEs the Patriots have are. There were real high hopes put on this unit, and they haven't looked good thus far.
If the Rams want to have a good season, these tight ends will have to improve. It's going to be hard with Big Mike having a back sprain (don't know how bad it is). The Rams best options are Billy Bajema and Lance Kendricks. Kendricks looked good during the preseason, but this is the regular season. For whatever reason, Kendricks hasn't been the game changer people thought he would be. He could turn it around this season though.
Blame on the Tight ends: 9
How much blame can you put on a banged up secondary? The Rams knew it would be hard to hide their weaknesses at corner, but who would have guessed it would have been this hard? Before the last game, I would have said they could last a season with this unit; that was obviously wrong this week.
The Rams will be tested this season on the deep ball. Justin King failed that test Sunday. Now it's up to the Rams to make sure it doesn't happen again. There aren't many options out there, but anything is better than nothing. Besides Quintin Mikell, Bradley Fletcher and an older Al Harris, the Rams don't have much to contest the other wide receivers. The Rams can put it together, but after the Ravens game, it's not looking good.
Blame on the secondary: 8
The Rams front seven
This is a unit that has some promise, but it all hasn't come together yet. The Rams defensive line needs some help getting more pressure on the quarterback. Chris Long has been getting lots of hurries and some QB hits, but he won't be one of those guys to give consistent pressure. Robert Quinn has looked good in short stints, but he's really not ready to be a full time starter yet. Maybe after the bye week, but Quinn is starting to look more impressive. Fred Robbins is reaching that mark and the Rams will most likely need to draft someone to replace him, because he is slowing down.
The Rams linebackers don't look much improved this year, right? Cutbacks are still a weakness for this team, and this unit is in real need of athleticism. James Laurinaitis might be a great up and coming linebacker, but he isn't really fast. If the Rams had a fast linebacker it could really help, but they don't have one right now. Maybe Jabara Williams will develop, but that's down the line.
The defense as a whole hasn't been too impressive. The Rams have given up the most rushing yards in the NFL. They have a pretty good pass rush at times, but not enough to be a better defense. Maybe if the Rams got more pressure, the opposing QBs wouldn't be able to just pick and choose who to pass to against the Rams secondary.
Blame on the Rams front seven: 7