The biggest question resounding around Rams nation is why Jackson didn’t get more carries. And what happened to the offensive scheme between the dominant displays against one of the best run defenses in the league at San Fran to the horrible outing against the 2nd worst run defense in the league? The answer is the headline of this post. There is an Identity crisis in STL.
Most of us have all seen the stats that beg the question for why the Rams didn’t run the ball after the first drive. If your one who has seen the stats, then please skip to the next paragraph, if you haven’t then feel free to catch up here. Last week, at the San Francisco 49ers (Currently 6th in the league in Run Defense), the Rams ran 36 times for 159 yards. This helped us gain a 6 minutes and 30 second time of possession advantage and kept us at a minimum on turnovers (1 TO). Individually, Steven Jackson ran 29 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Something that is very difficult to do against the 6th best run defense in the league. This week, against the NY Jets, the Rams ran 5 times for 26 yards to construct a 13 play, 86 yard touchdown drive. After that, The Rams had 14 carries. As a result, the Rams couldn’t keep the offense on the field. The defense was on the field for 33 minutes. Passes were forced causing an interception. The Rams became predictable leaving the backfield empty on second down, pocket collapsed and the second turnover of the game is a fumble by Bradford as he is sacked. That’s two turnovers, a -7 minute time of possession differential, and several third and short conversions that failed due to the Rams getting away from the running game.
For all of you that have seen the stats, this is where you should pick up. We all understand that the Rams should have run the ball 60% of the game on the 2nd worst run defense in the league. The bigger question is why didn’t it happen? Who is to blame? I hear lots of gripes about Schottenheimer and just a few about Fisher and even more about Bradford. Let me point out that both coaches mentioned have some ownership of this. Schottenheimer is the OC so he has the initial say but his boss is Fisher. I have been thoroughly impressed by the ‘Stache so far but I think this was his worst performance so far. It’s his job and his alone to let Schottenheimer know at halftime that he MUST get back to the run. Yes, he should be able to rely on his OC but it was clear by halftime Schotty needed some redirection. And this brings up the point of the hour, neither one knows the identity of the Rams offense.
Sam Bradford has been hyped and has had large expectations on his head from day one. He still has the potential to be a very good quarterback. But were missing the big picture. Steven Jackson was hyped, he has already lived up to his expectations, and he has already silenced his critics this year and could continue to, provided the coaching staff calls his number. The coaches have this notion that we are a passing team. Here is the new flash…WERE NOT A PASSING TEAM!!! We are a running team. Yes Bradford may be great some day. But Jackson is great NOW. The Rams identity is a running offense. The sooner the coaches realize this, the better. Maybe in the next couple years the Rams will transition back to the high flying, greatest show on turf, but this is not the year.
The Rams need to realize this quick and let Bradford develop over time. We are forcing this relationship when we have superman (SJ39) quietly waiting on the sidelines to shoulder whatever burden the offense would like to put on him. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget that D. Richardson doesn’t look like a bad replacement either. Just a thought! Hopefully the Rams get their identity problems realized quickly. Otherwise, I fear Sam Bradford will have his 4th OC in 4 years. This is my first big post so please give me some tips and feedback. I do appreciate it! Thanks and GO RAMS!!!