I was a believer. I made a minor investment in the hype of the Rams offense.
Shiny new skill position weapons, upgrades on the offensive line, a healthy Sam Bradford coached by the same OC for two(!) years in a row, and a 1-0-1 record to boast about against the rugged NFC Champion 49ers in 2012.
This was to be the ascension of the St. Louis Rams.
Same Ole Lions Rams.
Like I said, I made a minor investment in all of this. I recall my late summer, preseason statement was this ‘ehhhh, I think the Rams are a tad overrated and the Cardinals are being underrated.’ I made no proclamation that either team was going to poach the division away from the 49ers and the Seahawks, nor would I even commit to a playoff declaration for either. But still, improvement. A no longer laughable NFC West may post four .500 teams and be widely declared the best division in the game.
My venture into the Rams came in the form of Sam Bradford, Jared Cook and Tavon Austin. Yep, three of my fantasy draft selections. The answer to (when he’s healthy) does Sam Bradford stink – which even I’ve asked – had always been: He’s got no weapons, sooooooooooo we’re not sure. That was no longer a suitable retort to the annual Bradford bewilderment with the Rams additions.
Wait, they lost Steven Jackson. Who caressssssss, he wanted out and was D-O-N-E.
The running game is an atrocity. I say this in no joking manner, the fiercest Rams running back threat in the building last night was Marshall Faulk. He had just 22 yards less than the Rams running game did, so it’s hard to say I’m wrong. How ever the Redskins unearthed Alfred Morris, well the Rams did the exact opposite in constructing their backfield. I’m a huge proponent of ‘ehhhhhhh, build your line and you can plug anyone in. I mean, you have to TRY, HARD, not to accidently stumble onto a viable running back.’ Isaiah Pead, Daryl Richardson and Zac Stacy have proven me foolish.
The yardage totals of Jared Cook, who clearly brought his inconsistencies with him from Tennessee to St.Louis. It’s not all Cook’s fault as he’s been targeted 32 times, and come away from those intentions with just 17 receptions. That’s a lot of misfires by Sam Bradford considering Cook has just a single drop. No need to censure me for my harsh criticism. I respect that targets, catches, drops aren’t so black and white.
Do the Rams remember they skated all the way up to the 8th pick in April’s draft to select what many said was the single biggest playmaker in the entire draft? After the West Virginia season, Tavon Austin was a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but after evaluations he becamse a suspected target for any team that was desperate for a plug and play instant playmaker. Forget the chorus, here’s what last night’s analyst said to recap the Rams pick. “Now Sam Bradford has a weapon on the edge, and most importantly in the return game. This is the most explosive player in the draft.” — Mike Mayock
Intro-ing the game last night, Mayock reiterated his enthusiasm over Austin’s abilities in saying the Rams have to get him 20-25 touches a game. I agree. Maybe that not many in one game, but to dodge the guillotine of 1-3, that many touches in the hands of again THE MOST EXPLOSIVE PLAYER IN THE DRAFT, was necessary.
Austin has four drops through four games, so again, I get that the Rams might be skittish to force feed their rookie, but must I repeated the names of the running backs again? Is there another skill position player on the Rams offense that has the potential to do more than Austin? No.
Austin had 6 punt returns and did little with them. He was the center of 8 targets and marked the stat sheet with 2 catches. Zero carries. In some complex irony, Jets fans wanted Brian Schottenheimer GONE as their OC for his lack of imagination and his ruination of Mark Sanchez. The Rams leaped the Jets in the draft so they could get Austin before New York did. Forget about Sam Bradford; he may be a guaranteed $50 million dollar lost cause. Schottenheimer is going to jeopardize this job, and the ability to get future ones in the NFL by muting, again, THE MOST EXPLOSIVE PLAYER IN THE DRAFT.
Austin’s long touch, even on PRs, is a paltry 14 yards.
Yep, the NFL defenders are faster, quicker, and more intelligent when it comes to angles than those in the Big 12, BUT HE HAS TO GET THE BALL MORE.
In the same breath that I can pin Austin’s lack of early explosiveness on his adjustment to the NFL environment, Sam Bradford’s wayward ‘accuracy’ (58% for the season and his career) and Schottenheimer’s lack of play design and imagination are arguably more of a hindrance to Austin’s playmaking.
Simplify it. Make it even easier for Bradford by drawing up ways to get Austin the ball without needing to throw it more than 10 yards in the air. Hell, less. Four yards, create some rubs, and see if Austin can dart through a secondary.
Even without even a whimper of a running game, the Rams, after having made sacrifices to take the offensive gem of the draft, and in trying to salvage Bradford from being a sunk cost, this should be a more productive offense.
Instead, I just have a trio of Rams on my fantasy bench, who’ll be nailed to it for quite a while it appears.
4.5 yard per play. Third worst in the NFL. It’s Baltimorian and Jacksonvillian.
It’s bad enough zone-reading optionated QBs are off to a slow start, so that’s got me down. But I’m flat out irate that the Rams offense stinks and they’re totally underusing THE MOST EXPLOSIVE PLAYER IN THE DRAFT.