It's a dark day in Rams Nation. The Rams expectations and reality are at odds with each other. You can see it in fans tweets and players faces. No one expected it to be this bad.
The Rams have been bad for a long time, but this hurt is deeper than just the poor play - it's pain that swarms the place where hope once was. Hope emanating from the previous years positive play on defense, from the thought of Sam Bradford finally having the same offensive system in back-to-back years, from a coach who's name is respected within the NFL ranks, and from the belief that the Rams were finally headed in the right direction. After four games, the hope is gone.
"It's disgusting. It really is," Long said.
The thought of the Rams defense improving off of last year's performance was an enticing one. We heard talk of the Rams have a top five defense, and talk about how our defensive line was one of the best unit's in the league. Robert Quinn is the only one playing like it. Chris Long has been non-existent, and Michael Brockers' name never seems to be called. So what's the issue?
The Rams' coaching staff is failing to put their players in positions to succeed offensively and defensively. They are consistently being outmaneuvered and left grasping for straws.
Michael Brockers took a shot at explaining it:
"They did a good job game-planning us. They just knew where the hole was. They had extra people in a gap we couldn't cover. They matched the play with the defense."
Brockers' quote especially troubling when compared with one from defensive end, Robert Quinn, after last week's loss to the Dallas Cowboys:
"It was just a bad day. I was talking with James (Laurinaitis), and it seemed liked they called the perfect play every time on offense. As defenders, we've got to adjust and make plays. Kudos to them, they had an excellent game plan against us."
The riddle of Tim Walton's defense was solved week one and nothing has changed since. On the opposite site of the ball, the complete incompetence of offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, is becoming ever so apparent. His inability to use Tavon Austin properly is especially alarming.
I just want to put my arm around Brian Schottenheimer, make him some chamomile tea and teach him out to use Tavon Austin— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) September 27, 2013
But the blame can't placed squarely on one man's shoulders. The offensive line has been equally abysmal. The impotence of the offensive line paired with a below average running back's unit resulted in 19 rushing attempts for 18 yards. That's 0.9 yards per rush.
Per our research department: The 49ers had more rushing yards in Week 4 than the Rams do all season (219-189)— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 27, 2013
Sam Bradford had a rough night while in the national spotlight and the implications are palpable. The poor decisions, missed receivers, tipped passes, frenetic feet, and early check-downs are quickly turning fans into critics. The national narrative surrounding Bradford, along with the feeling among fans, is coming to a head right as news comes out the Rams are willing to extend his contract early.
From @MikeSilver & I on Total Access Kickoff: #Rams are willing to re-do Sam Bradford's contract now. They view him as their franchise QB— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 26, 2013
Extending Bradford right now seems less than desirable. Many fans are already calling for the Rams to take a long hard look at using one of their two first round picks in the 2014 NFL Draft on a quarterback. If the Rams were to honestly consider taking a quarterback in round one, this wouldn't be a bad year to do it.
Stating the problems is easy, but finding solutions isn't. What say you Rams fans? What changes need to happen in order for the Rams to right this quickly sinking, rusted out, ship?