The honeymoon ended early for the St. Louis Rams and their fans after a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. That game was a thorough pounding. The Rams couldn't do anything on offense, defense, and they keep handicapping themselves with penalties on special teams. More than likely head coach Jeff Fisher showed the tape to the team once, then burned it and danced on the ashes. It was that bad.
Last Sunday was a dark time for the Rams, no doubt about that. There's still a bright side: there are still plenty of games left in the season. There's still a chance that the Rams can turn this ship around before it sinks. These changes are simple enough, and they aren't as drastic as firing coaches.
Find an offensive identity
Head coach Jeff Fisher doesn't want to rely on the hurry up offense, much to the dismay of Ram fans everywhere. It shouldn't matter; Fisher should know his team and if they will be able to use a lot of the hurry up. So far in three games the Rams have only used it when they were down and that doesn't appear to change anytime soon. In fact, on the Fisher show last week, Fisher mentioned the reason why he doesn't use the hurry up is because the team could go three and out fast, which would put the defense in a horrible position.
Listen- the Rams teased everyone saying that they would speed up the offense and use multiple formations with the receivers moving in. They don't owe us anything and they don't have to actually do what they say.
However, if the Rams want to have a strong season, the team needs to find an identity. Either through running the ball, or using multiple receivers in a spread formation. Waiting until the 4th quarter when teams have a 17 point lead and then trying to out score them isn't the best recipe for success.
Don't play deep against opponents on 3rd and short.
This is the most ridiculous thing that the Rams have done since last season. When it's 3rd-and-3, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that if the defender is back seven yards, throwing a short route should get a first down. Most of the time it's been as easy as pitching and catching the ball.
This would be a simple change for the Rams. All it would take is for Jeff Fisher to tell Tim Walton to play the secondary closer to the receivers. This defense doesn't look that much different than last year's, so it stands to reason that this is more of Fisher's philosophy than Walton's. Granted the team is probably worried about their young safeties, third-rounder T.J. McDonald and second-year player Rodney McLeod, but it might be easier to take a chance that they will mess up on the backend, than the Rams giving up easy first downs.
Find the weapons
Remember when Sam Bradford had all these new weapons that he was happy to unwrap and play with like it's Christmas morning? Well it seems like that day has come and gone for Bradford. This offense is looking more like last year's team, even though the Rams added playmakers like tight end Jared Cook and rookie receiver Tavon Austin.
Could offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer open up the offensive playbook more? Probably, but it comes down to execution also. Is it the coordinator's fault that players dropped the ball and the offensive line decided to allow six sacks and countless hurries to Bradford? Of course not.
The key to this is most likely having another receiver on the outside that provides a threat to opposing defensive's. Teams can double Givens deep and watch the middle of the field. So it's up to receivers like Austin Pettis who is starting to threaten defenses. With that, it will be easier for Bradford and his slew of weapons to wreck havoc on defenses.
Make it easier on the offense
So far the Rams defense has been embarrassing. It has allowed opposing offenses dictate the game every week this season. Which in turn makes Bradford's day worse because now he has to hope that his offensive coordinator can call some plays that will get them into the end zone. Most of the time this doesn't work.
What the Rams offense needs is a defense that is more worried about stopping the players in front of them that their individual fantasy teams. Not saying that the Rams offense is without fault, but the defense should be able to help their offense out more than it is.
The book has yet to be written on the Rams 2013 season. Will they only be able to feast on teams like the Arizona Cardinals? Or, will they be able to hang with teams like the Houston Texans? If the Rams are going to play with the big dogs, then they need to make adjustments.