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Rams film review: Coverage issues remain

The Rams got a much needed win last week, but a closer look at the tape reveals some of the same problems remain.

Dilip Vishwanat

A win is a win. As a fan, you'll take it any way you can get it. For the team, it's a good psychological palate cleanser, a way to shake off the hiccups and refocus. But the tape from the St. Louis Rams game says there's still some room for improvement.

For this week's film review, let's start with some neutral observers, a pair of people with no vested rooting interest in the Rams. First up, former Buccaneers defensive end and SB Nation contributor Stephen White, from his Week 5 Notebook.

A game full of Football Follies: Listen, people rag on the Jaguars every week, and so I probably couldn't come up with a new joke if I tried. I don't need to try anyway, though, because their film on offense is usually hilarious. The Jags outdid themselves this week, and to be honest, the Rams weren't all that much better.

Jokes aside, the one thing that continually came up from people watching this game was the team's struggles in coverage. From White:

Then later on the Rams decided that nobody should cover Justin Blackmon in the slot and everybody should go cover the wide receiver outside of him. That resulted in a 67-yard touchdown, of course.

Here's how the coverage looked on that play, via Big Cat Country:


And another shot of the ball, after Blackmon gets the ball and heads toward the end zone.


That's Darian Stewart who lets Blackmon get behind him. Matt Giodano, the other safety on the field, can't stop him once he's got the ball.

Coverage was a problem throughout the game, but the gross incompetency of Blaine Gabbert allowed the Rams to get away with a lot. Here's Gabbert's first interception, the one Matt Giordano returned for a touchdown. Take a look at the GIF below, notice the open men he completely misses, including an easy play in the mile-wide gap between the front four and the next level of defenders ... the soft middle of the field that the Rams have struggled to contain Gabbertint_medium

I don't want to take away from a much-needed win, a huge moment of relief. But the coverage issues against the Jaguars don't suggest a sudden improvement from a Rams secondary that should be much better than it is.

This week, the Rams get another struggling quarterback in Matt Schaub. It's a good matchup for a secondary that can play the ball as well as it does. However, Schaub's struggles are nothing like Gabbert's overall, um, terribleness. If defensive coordinator Tim Walton can't figure out how to close that gap in the midsection of the field and get his corners and safeties matched up with receivers, it might be Schaub who gets the rebound this week.