In 2011, the St. Louis Rams needed a pass rusher, and they had to be happy when Robert Quinn fell into their laps with the 14th pick in the NFL Draft. Quinn was the talented pass rusher that the Rams needed. Of course Quinn wasn't without his issues: he had a brain tumor years ago, wasn't great against the run, had some red flags, but the biggest factor was him missing his final year of college.
But since Quinn has been with the Rams, he's been teasing the team and fans with his pass rush ability. In his rookie season, Quinn sacked opposing quarterbacks 5 times, but he was a role player that year. The Rams wanted to bring Quinn in slowly, bulk him up some, and not put pressure on him in stopping the run.
The Rams were smart in bringing him in slowly. After the Spagnuolo regime was replaced last season, it became known that Quinn would be a starter for the Rams. Quinn looked better, putting together a solid 10.5 sacks in 2012. Not the dynamic, explosive pass rusher that fans hoped for, but it was an improvement over his rookie year. It was a pivotal development year for him.
But while Quinn played more snaps and had a better statistical season, a couple of issues came up. He was at his best when he was lined up wide outside of the tackles outside shoulder, but teams used that to run to his inside and pick up some easy yards. He also tended to disappear at times. Quinn only had 26 hurries and 8 quarterback hits during the season, which speaks to his inconsistency so far in his career.
Here's a passage from an article written by writer Cian Fahey at presnapreads.com. He recently wrote an article about Quinn that you can read here.
Just one sack came when the Rams were playing from behind, against the Washington Redskins when he beat left tackle Trent Williams. Three of Quinn’s sacks came when the game was tied, but only two came when the Rams were leading by more than a touchdown. Quinn had three sacks in the first quarters of games during the season, two in the second quarter, two in the third quarter and four in the fourth quarter.
Quinn only ever beat left tackles. Being that he is a very talented speed-rusher, it’s no surprise that the majority of his victories against offensive tackles came on the outside. Only three times did he beat the blindside protecter past his inside shoulder for a sack. Quinn had two unblocked sacks, both of which ended outside of the pocket against Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
Some slack should be given to Quinn. This was his first full season in the NFL, and he'll be 23 going into this season. Plus, he was playing really good left tackles. Would it be better if he wasn't a big liability against the run?Yes, and it's something that he can learn to develop as time goes on. Granted, now that the Rams have three good linebackers, they could be more willing to let Quinn keep rushing and not worry about the running game as much.
The NFL is a passing league, and although teams can exploit Quinn's lack of run defense, if he can put it together as a pass rusher, it would give opposing offenses more than enough to worry about.