Its no surprise that the Rams community is calling for Schottys head. Seemingly every throw is behind the line, or that it is sacrilegious for a throw to be made over 10 yards. But why? He is the same OC who helped Chris Givens get 5 straight games with at least one 50 yard reception. So whats changed?
Well, the first thing people would say is that Sam is checking down too much, which may be true, but it can also be said that poor O-line play could account for this. However, it seems this O-line is now different form last year, and it has improved with the acquisition of Jake Long. However, Jake Long isn't exactly playing how we thought we would, and it doesn't help our second and third best players, Dahl and Wells, have shown their age, and frankly, this should be their last year starting. Barksdale has been good, not great, but he isn't really a problem. Chris Williams has also been ok. This O-line has shown times where it can give Sam plenty of time to move around, and other where it gets beat by 3 guys. It also seems that one play gets bull rushed, not allowing Sam to step in, which causes problems, as the rest of the O-line was fine on such plays. Still, this isn't much different from last year, where both our tackles were bad, and or LG, while Center and RG were ok to good.
So what else has changed? Well, the thing that I think has made the most problem is the loss of Steven Jackson. Not only have we lost his quality, but the more greater loss was his presence, as it forced the defense to respect the run, and his experience, as it helped pick up blitzs and get open for catches. Sam has missed a guy in the back field who can force the linebacker to push back a bit, in fear. Now the defense can send a 5, 6 man blitz, and not worry, as they no the running back and tight end can't pick up block (looking at you, Cook and D Rich), while there is basically no threat of a running game. With Stacy, this may help, as Richardson is not much of a blocker.
Maybe Schotty is being conservative because he felt he needed to make up for the run game using short passes, along with the lack of quality play from the offensive line, this would make sense. Also, the drafting of an exciting player in Tavon Austin has also forced him to try and get Tavon the ball more. Except trusting a rookie that much isn't going to always work. I think, in an ideal world, Brian Schottenheimer is hoping to have a running game, not a perfect one, but one good enough to make sure the defense can't blitz 24-7, or at least have the offensive line prevent a blitz from pressuring the QB for more then 3 seconds, and then send 2 Wrs deep, Cook in the medium zone, with Tavon coming across the middle, with some open space in front of him. This could open up space across the field somewhere. However, it would require either an good run game, or a great offensive line, one which we may soon get. Also, I think Schotty is trying to slowly open the play book up, to keep up Sams confidence, and the Offensive lines, while slowly bringing along Tavon, Quick and Bailey.
This may be wishful thinking, and in reality, Schotty could be a bonehead with no clue whats happening. I hope its the former.
Also, anyone who thinks having an "Elite" QB means that a poor offensive line doesn't matter, look at Brady performance against the Bengals. Completion % of 47.4 197 Yards 0 Tds, 1 INT He got sacked 4 times in that game. For comparison, in the game where Sam got sacked 6 times, against the Cowboys, he had Completion % of 60 240 Yards 1 TD 0 INT. Against the 49ers, where he got sacked 5 times, he had Completion % of 46 202 Yards 1 TD 1 INT. If you average the stats, it becomes 5.5 sacks, Completion % of 53 220 Yards, 1 Td and 0.5 INT. Still better then Brady. Think about it.