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Rams vs. 49ers: St. Louis working to fix red zone woes with a secret plan

Head coach Jeff Fisher knows exactly how to get his team moving again inside the red zone, but he's not telling anyone other than to say he expects results.


Jeff Fisher plays his cards close to his vest. Nobody's going to confuse the St. Louis Rams head coach of being trained by the KGB like Bill Belichick, the man does know how to keep a press conference short. Fisher took it one step further on Thursday, hinting at some top secret stuff to help kick start his team's moribund offense.

"I'm not going to go into detail about it, but we've addressed it," Fisher said when asked about how the team plans to score more touchdowns. "Typically speaking, when you emphasize something, you typically get results. We're going to continue to emphasize it until we do. That's what we're doing out here. You can see we spent a lot of time down there."

Interesting. Note the text I bolded in that statement. "Typical" Fisher. And we like it. That's sort of veiled threat, don't you think? Or at least a Soviet-esque way of suggesting that things are going to change ... or else.

So what exactly are the Rams going to do here? Danny Amendola returns to the offense this week, but it's not like the unit was particularly explosive with Sam Bradford's top target.

On the one hand, from a broader perspective, it's pretty easy to figure out what the Rams need to do: get better in the red zone. St. Louis is the league's second-worst red zone offense, converting just 39 percent of those opportunities. Only the Chiefs (the Chiefs!) are worse inside the opponent's 25-yard line. The NFL rate is 52 percent.

Part of the answer might lie in play calling. The Rams have passed the ball 32 times in the red zone, while running it just 17. It's a stark contrast for a team that was supposed to lean heavy on the run. Some more jaw-dropping stats: the Rams have never run the ball on first down with three yards or less in goal to go situations. Really.

Brian Scottenheimer might have tipped his hand as to Fisher's secret plan this week.

"I think we need Steven Jackson for a game like this," the offensive coordinator said. "It's going to be a physical game. Again, a fresh, full-speed Steven is a good thing. It's obviously troublesome for any opponent."

Jackson confirmed it in his comments to the media.

"Well, one, you have to be very good in the red zone," Jackson said when asked how to break the stout 49ers defense. "You've got to put up points. They want to ground and pound on offense, play stellar defense and their special teams makes plays. So, we actually have to use the same formula on them - chew up the clock, be physical with them right back and when we're in the red zone, execute and not continue to shoot ourselves in the foot like we have in the past."

The execution is key too, in spite of being a timeless trope. The Rams have been penalized 30 times in their last three games. Add in all the other mistakes, like dropped passes, interceptions, etc. and the Rams red zone woes aren't so hard to figure out.

Jeff Fisher's secret plan is pretty simple really, just a return to a core offensive philosophy that the team probably never should have abandoned in the first place.