A complex playbook and stunted preparation time contributed to the St. Louis Rams' historic struggles on offense in 2011. While head coach Jeff Fisher is known for a more conservative approach to the offense, Brian Schottenheimer, Fisher's new offensive coordinator, is not.
Schottenheimer's complex playbook created problems for the Jets last season, according to one report. Will it cause similar problems for the Rams in 2012?
Why was the Jets offensive line so bad last year and why did so many players underachieve? I was told part of the problem is the playbook was so thick and the blocking schemes so complicated many of the offensive lineman were over thinking all season.
The Jets' offensive line was mostly the same unit in 2011 that is was in 2010. The only difference was Wayne Hunter at right tackle last season, replacing Damien Woody from 2010.
Struggle is a relative thing. According to Pro Football Focus' OL rankings, the Jets still managed to have the 12th best line in the league, but that was a big drop off from the season before when they were ranked first.
PFF gave Hunter a poor grade, -31.1 overall, which represents a big drop off from last season. Hunter was credited with 11 sacks, which tied him for the third highest in the league. Rodger Saffold also allowed 11 sacks last season, but played about 500 fewer snaps than Hunter.
The thing to remember with PFF's ratings is that they would not necessarily reflect something as ephemeral as struggling with a playbook. However, with only one offensive linemen new to the same system, I question just how much of a problem the playbook was, unless Schottenheimer changed it up significantly between 2010 and 2011.
Of course, the Jets' offense had other, more notable struggles last season ... looking at you Santonio Holmes.
Schottenheimer and offensive line coach Paul Boudreau already have a big task on their hands, turning around a very poor Rams offensive line. It seems unlikely, given Fisher's history and the statements that have been made thus far, that Schottenheimer will go too far too fast this season. The Rams are not ready for anything too complex, and even trading down in the draft is not going to net them the kind of talent they need to start running a more involved offense.