In each of the last three years, the Rams have fielded the youngest team in the NFL. That youth has been a sticking point when pointing to the erratic play of the team the last few years. Oddly enough, it was the veterans that let down the Rams at various points yesterday.
If you look at his final line, Jared Cook had a productive game. Seven catches on nine targets for 75 yards (all team highs) would suggest he led the way for the Rams offense in helping Austin Davis manage the game. But the box score doesn't show one his two most memorable contributions to the game: the dropped TD catch and the subsequent fracas on the sideline. That dropped TD came in the middle of the Cowboys' 34-point explosion and preceded a Greg Zuerlein field goal that served as the only points that interrupted Dallas' scoring total.
As has been noted, the Rams lost by three points and the obvious difference between the would-be TD and the successful field goal is four points. That doesn't mean Jared Cook lost the game. It just means the Rams can ill afford a tight end who is on contract to be one of the most expensive in the league in the next three years (to say nothing of the $3m bonus he picks up in March) to leave points on the field. And the kind of discord suggested by his pushing of Austin Davis, a third-string QB who's trying to keep this team from caving into absolute failure? There's no justification for it from someone who's been in the league since 2009.
Bob: How has Scott Wells been doing?
(p.s. Vincent Kartheiser is the best)
There's not a ton to be unpacked here. Wells has played horribly. His snap to his own genitals instead of his QB in the shotgun yesterday, which ended the Rams' attempt at a two-minute warning at the end of the half and instead gave the Cowboys 39 seconds to add three points (again, the Cowboys won by three points...) is the kind of blooper fodder reserved for the more error-prone teams in the league. The Rams are one of those teams. Wells restructured his contract to a more bonus-laden one in the offseason to allow for more salary cap room. Snapping balls into your balls are not what bonuses are generally paid for.
Joseph is having a pretty abysmal start to the season; Pro Football Focus rated him the worst player on the Rams yesterday. What's uncomfortable here is that Joseph is, in essence, who is playing in lieu of #2 overall pick Greg Robinson. On one play, Joseph got knocked on his butt and nearly tripped up his own RB in the backfield. The former two-time Pro Bowler is playing badly, and for some reason the coaches prefer that to the on-field development of the Rams' top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Rams aren't a team who can afford these kinds of mistakes. Hell, they can't hold a 21-point lead, so there's no way they can deal with this. These are the veterans. These are the guys who are supposed to be holding the team together and leading the way, not holding them back.