As a subscriber to the Premium Stats on Pro Football Focus, it is interesting to see how the current group of Rams players grades out. We know the Rams OL has problems, but PFF makes it very clear. On pass blocking,Williams (-4.8), Richardson (-1.4), and Dahl (-0.8) are not much help. Long (+1.6), Wells (1.4), and Barksdale (1.4) are getting passing grades. On run blocking, the stinkers are Wells (-6.1), Kendricks (-6.3), and Cook (-5.8). Long (+2.8), Barksdale (+1.4), Williams (+1.1), and Dahl (+0.9) are okay.
Considering all aspects of line play, offensive tackles Jake Long and Joe Barksdale are grading out well. The tight ends plus Scott Wells are not getting the job done. The worst overall grade went to Jared Cook. Cook also grades out league-wide as the worst tight end through game 4. PFF shows that the offensive coordinator is not paying attention. The Rams average over 4 yards per carry when running between Long and Williams, the two best run blockers. Unfortunately, only 7 of 74 rushing attempts have gone this direction. The biggest problem? Running anywhere behind either tight end. They average 1 foot per play around left end and 1.8 yards around the right. Wells' poor run blocking brings up another possibility. Tim Barnes graded out much higher than Wells in the preseason. Maybe its time to work Barnes in there. Management needs to face the fact that they could have done better than sign Wells.
On defense, Cortland Finnegan (-15.1) has gone far downhill. He was rated the #2 corner in the entire league in 2011, 86th in 2012, and 101st (dead last) so far this year. As we all know, he was pulled from the Dallas game for a thigh injury, but he needs to sit anyway. His replacement, Trumaine Johnson, graded out well this year and last. The second worst defensive grades were earned by none other than middle linebacker James Laurinaitus (-6.8). Rodney McLeod is not much better (-4.5). With the loss of T.J. McDonald, the safety position is hurting.
Run defense, a great concern, shows Laurinaitis, McLeod and Finnegan as the worst defenders with Quinn, Jenkins, and Ogletree grading out the highest.
Are PFF grades meaningful? I think they are. Your opinion may differ.