By comparing the Rams’ offensive production this year to the Jets’ offensive production between 2006 and 2011 (Schottenheimer’s tenure), it’s obvious that the Rams’ Brian Schottenheimer does not equal the Jets’ Brian Schottenheimer. So which version is better?
(Note: The Rams total offensive stats for 2012 assume they keep pace with what they’ve done over the previous 15 games this year)
While compared with his 2012 peers, Bradford is average. However, when compared to the QB’s performance in a Schottenheimer offense, Bradford has outperformed the likes of Mark Sanchez, Chad Pennington, and even Brett Favre. On average, Schottey’s Jets attempted 499 passes per season, completing about 59% of those passes for an average of 3,065 yards. Bradford is on pace to attempt 549 passes completing about 60% of those passes for an average of 3,518. It appears that Schottenheimer has emphasized the pass more with the Rams than he did with the Jets. This is interesting considering his previous Jets’ offenses consisted of pass catchers such as Santanio Holmes, Jericho Cotchery, Plaxico Burress, and Dustin Keller. Two reasons come to mind for the increased pass attempts and yardage; 1) The Rams get off to slow starts and are frequently forced to play catch up, and/or 2) Schottenheimer has more faith in Bradford than Sanchez, Pennington, and (old) Favre.
As you may expect, with an increased focus on passing, Schottenheimer has deemphasized the run with the Rams compared to his Jets’ teams. This is contrary to my expectation that the Rams’ offensive style would be “ground and pound”. On average, Schottey’s Jets’ attempted 491 rushes, gaining over 2,000 yards per year. This is no surprise considering his offenses featured backs such as Ladanian Tomlinson and Thomas Jones (Jones average roughly 1,200 yards rushing while with the Jets). But the Rams have a potent rushing attacker in Steven Jackson. Why the decrease in rushing attempts to roughly 417? This may be the biggest point of contention in assessing Schottenheimer’s performance with the Rams. Often throughout this season, Schottey inexplicably abandoned the run when it seemed to be working. How many 3rd and 1 scenarios did Schottenheimer attempt to pass on this year? It defies explanation, and is inconsistent with his play calling as the Jets OC.
Finally, the most important offensive category of all, touchdowns. On average, Schottenheimer’s Jets teams scored 34 TDs per year compared to the 27 the Rams are on pace to score this year. A good portion (15 on average) of the Jets’ TD production came by way of the run. The Rams are on pace to have 5 rushing TDs this year. This is a bit surprising because Steven Jackson is the best equipped of all of Schottenheimer’s running backs to pound the ball into the endzone. And from a passing perspective, Schottenheimer had better red zone receivers in Burress and arguably Keller, than he does with any of the current Rams’ receivers. Coming into this season, I would’ve expected the opposite.
Overall, if asked to grade which Schottenheimer is better, I would give a slight edge to the Jets’ Schottenheimer. To me, even if I set aside the inexplicable abandonment of the run at times this year, it comes down to TDs. The Jets’ Schottey dialed up more plays that resulted in TDs. Perhaps next year, with more experienced, and hopefully talented Rams personnel, this will change. I am fairly optimistic that it will.