The St. Louis Rams Offense: An Improvement Over 2012?

Dilip Vishwanat

The St. Louis Rams have just finished the first quarter of their 2013 campaign. Is the 2013 Rams’ offense an improvement over that of last year?

The St. Louis Rams won’t be playing this Sunday, after falling 35-11 to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football just a few days ago. The Week 4 loss dropped the team to 1-3 on the season. In theory, the team’s offense should be drastically improved from the 2012 year. For many of the players, it’s their second year in the same offensive system, and it’s be rewarded with some upgraded, play-making components. So how have they faired thus far?


Passing

Stat Category

2013

2012

Improved?

Attempts

182

125

Yes

Completions

107

77

Yes

Completion %

58.8

61.8

No

Yards

1093

881

Yes

Yards/Attempt

6.0

7.1

No

TD’s

7

4

Yes

INT’s

3

4

Yes

Long

47

56

No

QB Rating

82.1

81.3

Yes


* It’s no surprise the Rams’ - moreover Sam Bradford’s - passing stats are up in 2013. It’s also no secret that the team bolstered their passing game by going after play-making receivers in the offseason. The loss of the team’s All-Time leading rusher was sure to make passing downs a bit more frequent.


* The team has thrown the ball 45.6% more times in 2012. They’ve seen a 39% increase in completions as a result.

* At this rate, Sam Bradford is on pace for 4,372 yards in 2013. That would’ve been good for 8th in the NFL in 2012.

* Prior to Week 4’s [Sunday] matchups, Sam Bradford leads the NFL in completions [107], and has completed 26 more passes than Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan. He also has 55 more attempts than Drew Brees, who leads the aforementioned group with 127.

* The long ball hasn’t been there as often as Bradford would like. Sam has yet to connect on a 50+ yard pass to Chris Givens - something they started doing [for five straight weeks] in Week 4 of 2012. It’s having an adverse affect on his YPA [6.0], which currently ranks 34th in the NFL [for QB’s with more than 40 att’s].

* Through the first four games, Bradford has improved in 6 of the 9 statistical categories from 2012 to 2013 [listed above].

Rushing

Stat Category

2013

2012

Improved?

Attempts

73

86

No

Rush Yards

189

330

No

Yards per Carry

2.6

3.8

No

TD’s

0

0

No

Long

23

53

No


* "No" sounds about right.

* The Rams have run 256 plays this season. The run plays [73] account for 29% of them. Balance? “No."

* 189 total rush yards ranks 29th in the NFL - ahead of three teams that have a combined zero wins [Giants, Steelers, & Jaguars]. All of them play on Sunday, so it’s fair to assume - seeing as how the Giants [who trail all] need just under 60 yards to surpass them - that the Rams will rank dead last in rush yards by the conclusion of Week 4.

* 2.6 Yards per carry ranks 31st in the NFL - just ahead of the Rams’ Week 5 opponent, the Jaguars. [Neither team has rushed for a TD].

* Daryl Richardson had 135 yards [on 27 attempts: 5 YPC] through 4 games in 2012. He also had broken the team’s long run: 53 yards.

* The longest run for the Rams in 2013 is 23 yards. The rusher on that play? Sam Bradford

Receiving

Player

Tgts

Rec’s

Yds

YPC

Long

TD

C. Givens

27

13

235

18.1

47

0

2012

7

3

61

20.3

52

0

B. Quick

10

4

50

12.5

16

0

2012

3

1

19

19

19

0

A. Pettis

31

18

173

9.6

27

2

2012

7

4

39

9.75

17

0

J. Cook

31

17

240

14.1

47

2

2012

20

14

200

14.3

61

1

L. Kendricks

13

11

90

8.2

18

1

2012

13

9

81

9.0

26

0

T. Austin*

34

20

124

6.2

14

2

S. Bailey*

1

0

0

0

0

0

* Denotes Rookie WR; Highlight Marks Team’s Leader for Stat Category

* By the conclusion of Week 4 in 2012, Danny Amendola had 44 targets, hauling in 31 catches [long of 56 yds] for 351 yards and 2 TD’s. Outside of YPC, Danny Amendola’s 2012 stats [through Week 4] trump that of every one of the Rams’ 2013 wideouts thus far.

* Tavon Austin is getting the most looks of the Rams’ receivers this year. It comes as no surprise, with the loss of the aforementioned Amendola. The figure to look at - for Austin - is 6.2...Austin, known for his ability to make plays with his speed and athleticism is averaging just over 6 yards per catch. It’s not ideal.

* Brian Quick’s use in the offense continues to be an enigma. The 33rd overall selection in 2012’s draft is being targeted just over two plays per game.

* Jared Cook’s start to his 2013 campaign looks a lot like that of his 2012 season - with the exception of targets. For a guy who wanted out of Tennessee - due to his believed under-utilization - a 55% increase in looks is probably satisfactory in his opinion. Sans a Honey-Badger-punch-out, Cook would be approaching 300 overall yards, bumping his YPC to 17.4, and leading the team in TD’s. That being said, Cook has only managed to tally 99 yards in past three games, after going off in Week 1 [141 yds, two TD’s].

* Stedman Bailey is a complete non-factor in the team’s offense. It’s a bit surprising considering the "sleeper" hype he received, coupled with comparison’s to NFL players like Steve Smith [the good kind of Steve Smith]. I see little reason to be concerned about Bailey, though. He’s simply buried on the depth chart.

…Stats don’t tell the entire tale, and that’s why it’s important to formulate opinions based on what you see during the game. Sam Bradford - by all accounts - looks to have vastly improved on paper. However, he's already drawing plenty of scrutiny, and talks of drafting Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel are running amok. Additionally, the team has a lot of questions surrounding the run game, and apparently has no answers. The category not listed above -- the one that matters most -- is wins. All the "Yes-s" and improved player stats are a weak consolation prize for a team who already had two wins in 2012, and were on their way to a 3-2 record.

What sticks out to you? What are the underlying issues? Who is to blame? What is it going to take to turn things around?



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