A team with so much hype, so much promise now sits 1-3 with more questions than answers.
For months I’ve tried to convince my audience that Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher was the answer. He had the experience, motivation, and the legacy to bring this futile organization back. But allow me to put that on hold. What every Rams fan witnessed on Thursday, in primetime, on home turf, was absolutely ridiculous.
A football team, proud of its “progress”, got destroyed in every facet of football a team can imagine for the second straight week.
Let me take you inside the locker room.
Sam Bradford, in full pads, had his head in his hands contemplating a good 10 minutes before taking a shower. Chris Long obligated himself to the media before sitting in full pads, disgusted, until everyone (players included) left the room. They’re tired of it, sick of the losing.
Let these soundbites do the writing. (Fisher, Givens, Jake Long, Chris Long, Bradford)
Safe to say things didn’t go to hot.
Welcome to the growing pains after several regimes beat the organization into the ground. Sometimes that bludgeon seems to last forever. Unfortunately, Fisher can’t take a magic wand and perfect things overnight. Hey, if a coaching change fixed problems overnight, well what the hell happened the last three times?
Game Notes: Here’s what I saw
Bradford missing a wide-open Austin Pettis on the opening drive set the entire tempo. That has to be 7 points. Period. For anyone still thinking Bradford isn’t the problem, here is some video to help your brain.
Even worse, his offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, doesn’t have the intelligence to sit upstairs, where he might help Bradford adjust formations on blitzes that his 4th year QB can’t see. Schotty is not a QB coach; he’s a coordinator. His job is to make the offense work. 10 points in the last eight quarters is absolutely absurd.
Mike Martz coordinated a Super Bowl winning (historical) offense from the upper deck. But no, Brian can see everything from the sidelines.
The Rams nonexistent running game has handicapped the entire team. When an offense becomes one dimensional, and the quarterback is Sam Bradford, the team gets shellacked. 19 attempts, 18 yards, zero rushing first downs. The Rams spent three draft picks over the last two drafts on running backs. Last season, Daryl Richardson had the most success on toss plays where his speed reached the outside … the Rams are counting on him to run between the tackles and it’s not working.
Part of the reason it’s not working is because the offensive linemen are getting an old-fashioned beat down. They’re lining up and losing the physical battle every single play. The 49ers rushed four and five defenders and hurried Bradford on almost every throw.
The running backs can’t pass protect, and then there is Jared Cook …
1. Bradford had three batted balls last night, raising his season total to nine.
2. Janoris Jenkins’ coverage is a lot better than his tackling skills.
3. Tavon Austin will soon learn running horizontal doesn’t work in the NFL.
4. Schotty has a deep ball in their somewhere for the guy who averaged 11.9 YPC at West Virginia …
5. Hey, at least they cleaned up getting penalized on special teams …
6. Rodney McCleod is tipping his blitzes and taking bad angles and missing tackles.
7. Center Scott Wells is on the ground every snap.
8. Lance Kendricks is not a blocking tight end.
In the Rams’ 17-14 win last season at home versus San Fran, the turning point was a Janoris Jenkins fumble recovery for a touchdown. Alec Ogletree did his best to turn the momentum when he stripped Frank Gore after another gashing run. The Rams recovered only to have the offense respond with a deflating three-and-out. They had seven of those. I swear Marc Bulger retired.
This team is so dysfunctional right now. An extended break gives the players a few days away from football, which will help. Jacksonville comes to town next Sunday — which could also help.
In the meantime, enjoy some postseason baseball.