I have found the lost chord, the Holy Grail! I know the key ingredient to winning in the NFL Yet, I'm not the only one to stumble upon Shangri-La.
It was a dark and stormy night, and the entire ship's crew were scurrying above deck in hurricane winds, drowning beneath an onslaught of blinding rain, every able body man struggling to save the ancient whaling ship Saint Louis from sinking, thus sending every soul en masse to Davy Jones Locker. More than one of the emaciated crew prayed to a god they didn't believe in. The first mate Jeff Fisher thought, " This isn't what I signed up for!" And to think just a few days ago the sea had been smooth as a plane of glass. Nary a cloud in the sky and...
The author wishes to apologize for accidently exposing Rams fans to my novel in progress. Yet, the title of this tale is true. I will also expose you to the key to winning in the NFL. I believe Snead and Fisher are on to something good.
Back to reality! The first two waves of free agency have paved the path for Snead and Fisher, to draft key players, who will make the Rams a winner and playoff contender in 2014! Before I proceed, let me post some eye opening stats, which will bolster my hypothesis on the Rams philosophy and draft direction.
1. The Rams defense have accumulated more sacks then any NFL team in the last two years! identify ingredient
2. In 2013, the Rams had more sacks then any NFC West Team! In 2013, The Rams allowed less sacks then any NFC West team. Yet, we finished in last place in the NFC west!
Conclusion- The Rams outstanding positive NFC West Sack differential did not translate into WINS!
2013 NFL Offensive Line Rankings
Winners offensive lines
Losers Offensive Lines
Dallas ranked 4th ( OK 8-8 record)
Washington ranked 3rd
Cleveland ranked 5th
Conclusion- It would appear there is very little correlation between offensive line ranking and Win Loss Record.
Comparing Passing and Rushing YDS/A
The following stats compare 2013 Playoff teams YDS/A passing and rushing YDS/A. I included Arizona because they won 10 games. Fair enough?
These stats include each playoff team’s offense and defense. For example the New Orleans Saints averaged 3.8 yards per rushing attempt, but their defense allowed 4.6 yards per rushing attempt, New Orleans had a negative rushing YDS/A ratio of minus 0.8.
I performed the exact same calculations for all 2013 playoff team's offensive and defensive passing YDS/A stats as well.
11/13 or 85% of playoff teams had positive YDS/A passing ratios.
7/13 or 54% of playoff teams had positive YDS/ Rushing attempt ratios.
Before I move on, I would like to point out that Philadelphia was the only playoff team to have greater that 1.0 yard per attempt positive rushing YDS/A ratio. The Eagles offense averaged 1.3 yards more per rush then their defense allowed.
6/13 playoff teams had greater than a 1.0 yard positive passing YDS/A ratio. The Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks passing offense gained 2.45 more yards per passing attempt then their defense allowed!
In 2013 every team in the NFC West except for the Rams had a positive passing ratio greater than 1 yard per attempt. In 2013 the Rams had a negative passing YDS/a ratio of minus 1.26 yards per passing attempt.
1. A positive passing YDS/A ratio has a very high correlation to a positive W/L record.
2. A positive rushing YDS/A ratio does not have a significant correlation to a positive or negative W/L record.
3. Passing offense and defense matters way more than Rushing offense and defense.
Fun Fact- 6 out of 9 worst defenses in rushing yards per attempt made the playoffs in 2013!
In my article What Did the First Day of Free Agency tell us about Ram's Direction?. I stated that a smart GM plugs holes through free agency and drafts Best Player Available in the draft. The GM may trade back or forward to obtain the Best Player Available.
Furthermore, Snead will do whatever it takes to marry BPA and NEED thru draft day trades. In my article I pointed out the Rams most glaring needs. In order of need-
1 Free Safety to anchor the back end of Gregg Williams aggressive defense. I put the odd of us obtaining a FS thru FA at 4 to 1.
2. Guard - I said there was an 80% chance the Rams would sign a free agent guard. The Rams signed Rodger Saffold
3. #1 WR- I stated the odds of Snead signing a #1 WR in free agency in draft are ZERO. There is a 95% chance will draft a wide receiver in the first two rounds of the draft.
4. Cornerback or Nickleback- I said FA cornerbacks are too expensive. Rams will draft a CB by round 4 at the very latest. I suspect we will draft a CB in rounds 1-3
5. Outside Linebacker- I predicted Rams would resign Dunbar. As you know the Rams resigned Dunbar. I know many of you would like an Outside Linebacker draft by round two. Although sexy, it probably won't happen. We need a player on the field for 3 downs, not 2 downs. That's another reason an extra CB is more important.
6. Offensive Tackle and Defensive Tackle- The odds are 50/50 we sign a cheap DT to rotate with Brockers and Langford.
Please stay with me reader, I will tie all this info into a pretty bow. Some of you may remember my insistence that the most important passing stat in a passing league is Yards Per Attempt. It works both ways friends. Not only must the Rams increase their YDS/A but, we must decrease opposing teams offensive's YDS/A!
After much research I finally found what I was looking for! The Key to the Rams Success! stumbled on to a 10 year study on YDS/A offensive and defensive differential and it's positive correlation to a positive Won Loss Record.
From 2003-2012 105 out of 120 playoff teams had a positive YDS/A ratio. Rushing stats had practically no correlation to a positive Win Loss record. The trend continued unabated thru 2013. Only 1 out of the top 15 quarterbacks YDS/A had a losing record.
In 2013 Sam Bradford was 34th in the league YDS/A. ( This is not an antiSam Bradford aticle, I will not stir the pot. I blame it on our week wide receiver corp)
Here is the article I read. It's complete with metrics and charts. I think the stats make a very strong case for doing whatever it takes to obtain a positive YDS/A ratio, because a positive YDS/A ratio Will Translate into wins! Please read the article. I will pause for a cup of coffee and a Danish while you read this brilliant article...
I hope you enjoyed the above article... If you did read it, you will realize that,
Teams who have QB's who pass for high YDS/A, and have a defense that prevents high YDS/A , win more games than teams who are efficient at running the ball and stopping the run.
Fun Fact- Although Seattle led the NFL in penalties incurred , Seattle also led the league in passing YDS/A ratio!
There are 2 basic ways the Rams can create a positive YDS/A ratio!
1 Draft a #1 WR!
In 2013, the Rams top receiver Chris Givens was ranked 79th in the league. Armed with a pathetic stat like that, you can make an argument that the Rams don't have #2 receiver, much less a true #1 WR.
2. Draft a top free safety and a solid cornerback, who blitzes well.
The Rams can create a Positive YDS/A ratio via offensive and defensive draft moves. And I believe that's exactly what the Rams will do. Signing Saffold and Dunbar decrease the need for a guard and OLB, leaving the Rams in better position to draft a #1 WR, a top Free Safey, and a early round cornerback.
The first thing we must do is unleash a #1 wide receiver upon our opposition! And that equates to drafting a WR very early in the draft.
Before someone gets their dandruff up about Big Uglies, and screams Robinson, take into count that Rams offensive line was ranked higher than Arizona (32) and Seattle(26). Fisher has never drafted an offensive lineman in the first round. And there is little correlation between great offensive lines and winning records. I'm not saying teams with great offensive lines lose! I'm saying teams with negative YDS/A ratios lose.
What Are the Rams Draft Priorities after the 2nd wave of free agency?
1. Free Safety- The Rams will draft one of the top 3 Free Agent Safety's. Only with a superior free safety, can Gregg William's defense blitzkrieg the opposition into submission! There is an 85% chance that Ha Ha Clinton Dix, Calvin Pryor, or CB/S Lamarcus Joyner will be in Rams Horns. These guys will allow our CB's to press cover, and our LB's to blitz. The addition a top free safety will lower opposing teams YDS/A stat. Why didn't I say 100% chance? Because I don't have the scouting network Les Snead has at his disposal. Expect a free safety within the first two rounds.
2. #1 WR. I'm putting my money that our first pick will be Sammy Watkins. If Snead trades back to Jacksonville or Cleveland expect the Rams will draft Watkins. If Rams trade back as further, then I expect the Rams are targeting another WR. Either way, the Rams will draft a WR in the first 2 rounds!
3. CB- Gregg Williams loves press CB's who can blitz. I don't have enough info on the Blitzing ability of the top CB's, but I do know Roby blitzes well. I'm not saying that is the Rams target. I do believe the Rams will trade back at least once to marry BPA with Need. Suffice to say, 3 out of the 4 first Ram picks will be WR, FS, and CB. Mark it down friends.
4. Guard- I love the offensive line, I really do dig the dudes in the trenches. Don't worry, the Rams will draft a guard in 2014. In my earlier article, I put Guard as Rams #2 priority, but now that we have Saffold, priorities have changed. The earliest I can see Rams drafting a G/OT type is round two, and that's only if we acculate four picks in the first two rounds. We will have a guard/OT type player in Rams Horns by round 4 at the latest.
5. Tie between OLB, DT, and OT- I suspect we will sign a free agent DT or cheap OT in the near future. I also believe we will add 2 of these 3 positions in the draft.
GM's Draft looking 2-5 years into the future. Smart GM's plug holes thru free agency and manipulate the draft through trades to marry BPA with NEED.
Kevin Demoff, Snead, and Fisher will have to extend the Mighty Quinn's contract soon, and cut one of our beloved vets by the beginning of the 2015 season. I'm sure quality of play, injuries, team identity, and salary cap will play into their decisions.
Put on your GM hat, shoes, and jacket, and let's take a peek beneath the service. ( Please direct any salary cap question to Ramsfan1313. I don't have 1/10 the salary cap knowledge he has!)
The Scary Part or Which One of These Doesn't Belong?
Jake Long- in 2015- 8 millions saving- 2.5 million dead money......In 2016 8.75 million savings- 1.25 million dead
Chris Long- in 2015-8.5 million savings- 2.0 million dead money....In 2016 11.75 million savings- 1.5 million dead
Kendall Langford- 2015- 6 million savings- 1 million dead money.....In 2016 UFA
Scott Wells - 2014- 4.5 million savings- 2 million dead money ....2015 5 million savings- 1 million savings
Sam Bradford 2015 13 million savings - 3.6 million dead.....2016 UFA
Joe Barksdale is a UFA in 2015
With the exception of Sam Bradford, whom I will not discuss, every player on this list is either an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman. Yet, these positions have different values.
QB is the most valuable, LOT and DE are very close in value.
I believe Center, and DT are tied for next in value. I happen to believe Center is the 2nd most valuable position on the offensive line, but that another article. Right Tackle is the least valuable. As you can see, the Rams allocated money according to value of the position.
Still got your GM Cap on? It would make sense to draft a center, DT, and a versatile OTin rounds 4-6. Someone you could plug into those positions if the need be. Like I said earlier, don't be surprised if sign a free agent DT soon.
We still have William Hayes, so that makes Chris Long the logical choice to cut within the next two years. And if the Rams are impressed with Jadeveon Clowney than most of us are, and somehow we can't trade out of #2, then Clowney would be in, and Chris Long could be cut next year. In other words, If you see and hear Rodger Goodell go to the podium to announce who the Rams pick at #2, expect Jadeveon Clowney.
We must pray that Jake Long recovers. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. Yet, it's easier to find a LT then a #1 WR, so I expect the Rams to pass on Robinson and Mathews. We can draft a Left Tackle next year, or find one in the 2nd or 3rd round this year.
Please go back and read the article on YDS/A if you haven't. It's a great read for any amateur GM
EWE's Mock with Trades. Rams trade #2 to Jags for #3 and a second round pick, although if the Jags won't do it I would take a third round pick. I want something to move back one spots
1a. WR Sammy Watkins
1b. FS Ha Ha Clinton Dix
2a. CB Bradley Roby
2b- G- Xavier Su'a-Filo
3.-OT/G Joel Bitonio
4. DT Daniel McCullers -Tennessee
5.. QB- Logan Thomas Virgina Tech
I filled the Rams needs with my perception of BPA. I think the first 3 picks I mocked will be very close to the Rams draft in May. Yet, since I don't have the scouting resources that Snead has, I can't predict BPA after round two. I haven't seen the tape. I hope you enjoyed the article. We have a GM lurking inside of all of us!