I opted for the liberal arts route in college, history in undergrad and media/film in grad school, being able to avoid some math and science classes being a central motivation in those decisions. Needless to say, I'm no expert on chemistry.
So I hope that it's just a matter of chemistry with the new pieced together Rams offensive line that's leading to incessant sacks, hurried pass plays, and a really, really difficult time for Steven Jackson to get the running game going. That (one thing) is what Steven Jackson's talking about now, in the wake of the scream heard `round the Dome on Sunday.
Communication plays a big part of what an offensive line does, each 300 lbs slab needs to know where the other 300 lbs slab will be, who they're blocking, whether or not to pull, etc. I suspect that as guys play together for a few games or a few seasons, that communication becomes second nature, maybe even without need of actual verbal expression. So, certainly, that's one factor at work on the O-line as currently constructed. Another week of practice and another game should make some difference. I really hope that it's enough.
Clifton Ryan deserves some more praise for the job he did Sunday. And what's so amazing about it, is that he went in there and played solid, fundamental football. Nothing fancy, he didn't try to make the highlight reels, he just did his job and made plays. Whatever else happens this season, I think we can call this year's draft a success.
I realize I'm starting to sound like Pollyanna here, but there's another silver lining (amidst plenty of bleak linings too) from this game. San Francisco might have the best defense in the NFC West, with Clements and Harris they certainly have the best corners. The Rams wide receivers and a constantly pressured Marc Bulger made it work anyway. To me, that's encouraging to note and underscores the fact that, despite all the other troubles, we still have the QB and pass catchers that can match up against anyone. If only the line could get some better "chemistry"...
Unlike baseball, the statistics in football don't illuminate quite as much. For instance, Steven Jackson's performance is dependent on the O-line and QB as well as his own two feet. Percentages and odds however mean more in the game than just how much of your weekly allowance available to blow at numerous online betting sites. Take for instance Linehan's decision to send in the kicking team for the 56 yarder on 4th and 2 with 50 seconds remaining. The folks at Football Outsiders pointed out that the odds of Wilkins hitting that FG are likely just as high as the odds of the Rams moving the ball two more yards for a first down and putting the kicking team in "near guaranteed" range for the winning FG and leaving the 49ers with almost no time left for even the obligatory Hail Mary pass.
I'll take Wilkins leg almost anytime when the Rams are down, but consider this. His career long 57 yard FG came 9 years ago. His career completion percentage on kicks of 50+ yards is 70.6%, 24 for 34.
Clearly, Linehan and Olson had, at that point, lost whatever faith they had in the offensive line and the offense that is so far 0-2 on 4th downs and just 12 for 30 (40%) on 3rd downs.
Be sure to stop by and welcome the RAMblin Fan's blog to the fold. Mack Rosenberg adds greatly to the Rams discussion over there, as well as here at TST.