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The Offensive Line and the Amoeba Offense

Sam Bradford was only sacked twice on Sunday. Some would say, "Two sacks? The offensive must be getting better!" Well, I am going to disagree with that statement. Those same people may say, "The O-Line played great! Why are you ragging on them?" The answer follows after the jump.


I am not ragging on the offensive line. I think they had a very good game as group. I also think they played well last year. "WAIT A SECOND!", you may be thinking. "This offensive line gave up 55 sacks last season. That is one more than the Cardinals gave up, and they gave up the second most in the league!" You would be correct in saying that no one gave up more sacks than the Rams.

However, the offensive line is not the only group responsible for sacks. There were three other parties that were responsible for allowing the opposing teams to rack up so many sacks.

1) The tight ends. As a unit, the TEs made three blocks over the entire season. That is an exaggeration, but the TEs really poor blockers. It is a lot harder to stop elite pass rushers like Aldon Smith (2 sacks) and Brian Orakpo (3 sacks) without any help. Even the best tackles in the league get help against great DEs, but our TEs were completely inept at blocking. Fortunately, Michael Hoomanawanui and Lance Kendricks did not block anyone. Billy Bajema was probably about average.

2) Steven Jackson. "What? The best player on the team?!" Yes, bless Steven's heart, but he never blocks anybody. He didn't have the vision to see opposing players coming through the line or off the edge. When he did engage an opponent, the results typically favored the opposition. I imagine this goes unnoticed by many because Steven is so big, most assume he should be able to block. Well, most assumed a team coming off of a 4-12 and lost their starting QB in the pre-season would have no chance at winning the Super Bowl. Those people were also incorrect.

3) The Amoeba Offense (http://www.turfshowtimes.com/2011/1/25/1954805/the-mcdaniels-approach-to-deferrals-and-gameplanning) I'd have to agree with John Clayton (http://espn.go.com/nfl/preview12/story/_/id/8295967/nfl-quarterback-rankings-john-clayton-reveals-2012-hierarchy-signal-callers-part-2) when he said, "lysis: Getting rid of the Josh McDaniels offense should add a touchdown per game to the 12.1 points the Rams averaged last season." Football Outsiders ran a great article describing some of the things I am taking about (http://www.footballoutsiders.com/word-muth/2012/word-muth-scouting-rams)

In short, Josh McDaniels made our offensive look like crap. How many times did he split Steven Jackson out wide last season? This is the second time I am saying something negative about Steven, so I do not want anyone to get wrong the impression about my opinion of Steven Jackson's abilities as a football player. He is a very good runner, but he can't block or catch. When our former offensive coordinator split Steven out wide, the Rams were essentially playing 10-on-11. If Lance Kendricks and Greg Salas were on the field, the Rams were playing 8-on-11. It is hard not to give up sacks when you are playing 8-on-11.

If you let defensive coordinators pick the formation the Rams lined up in last year, they would have picked to the formations that McDaniels did pick. His brutal playcalling led to sacks much more so than the offensive line.

Not giving Bradford a QB coach did not help, either. Bradford held onto the ball too long many plays last season. With better play calling and QB coach, I'm convinced he would have been able to avoid some sacks.

I do not know if Brian Schottenheimer is going to be an elite offensive or not, but I know that the difference between Josh Mcdaniels and Schottenheimer is bigger than Rokevious Watkins.

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