If the St. Louis Rams are going to improve their offensive output, starting drives with better field position would be the a step in the right direction.
After averaging a starting field position of 23.72 during the 2012 season, the St. Louis Rams drafted Tavon Austin to help the Rams start in more advantageous positions. However, going into their fourth game of the season, the Rams are currently ranked 30th with an average starting field position of 22.32. Nothing has changed.
Why has the addition of Tavon Austin failed to help the Rams improve in the battle for field position?
Penalties are a driving reason the Rams are ranked 30th in terms of starting field position; of which special teams penalties have been the most glaring. Last week, the penalties on special teams negated two impressive punt returns by Tavon Austin. The week prior, special teams forced the Rams to start with poor field position in the first half, thus the team got off to a slow start.
The defense's inability to stop so much as a nose bleed, also has hurt the Rams average starting field position. The Rams are failing to generate turnovers, averaging .062 turnovers per drive. Also, the Rams rank 30th on defense in time of possession per drive; meaning that the defense can't get off the field. The dislike for the soft coverage is well documented - as well as justified - and the fact remains that unless something changes, the Rams' defense will leave the offense in less than favorable situations.
Field position is only one variable to a very complex situation, but allowing the offense to start on the other side of the 30 yard line every once in awhile would go a long way towards the Rams scoring more points. Hopefully, the Rams can take a step in the right direction tonight, and give Sam and the offense a chance against a weakened 49ers defense.