EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Danario Alexander #84 of the St. Louis Rams catches a 19-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against Michael Coe #37 of the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
3k from Turf Show Times helped me out by answering some questions about the Rams as they come off their bye week to face the Green Bay Packers. My first two questions focused on their struggling offense.
Q: Sam Bradford has a completion percentage under 50% while being sacked 18 times and fumbling twice. It looks like his pass protection has let him down and is the root of his problems, or is it something else with him?
A: It's a combination of offensive line deficiency, poor wide receiver play (the Rams lead the NFL in drops, many of which don't even call as official drops) and a new offensive system for a second year QB. But yes, the offensive line play has been incredibly uninspiring; the only argument you might find from fans of the Rams when citing their adjust sack rate from Football Outsider (30th overall) is that they're not dead last. Given the expense of the line the front office has assembled, the rancor that's coming from the fan base is being directed beyond the roster and to the coaching staff and front office at this point.
Q: It doesn't look like Bradford is getting a lot of help from his receivers, and the loss of Danny Amendola doesn't help. How is this group playing?
A: Overall, not well. In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Rams drafted a tight end in the second round and two wide receivers in the subsequent rounds (Lance Kendricks, and Austin Pettis and Greg Salas, respectively). To add to that, they signed Mike Sims-Walker this offseason, giving hope to fans that the mediocre passing game from 2010 wouldn't be the case in 2011. It hasn't been; it's been worse.
Kendricks and Salas have had key drops on plays that would have either converted first downs or put 6 points on the board. Mike Sims-Walker and Brandon Gibson have struggled to get routine separation. The only real bright spot has been Danario Alexander who is the most athletic and most threatening WR the Rams have. The caveat emptor on DX, though, is as big an injury flag as could possibly be imagined. He's had five surgeries on the same knee dating through his time at Missouri and back to high school, so there's an obvious concern as to limiting his playing time. The Rams may have played their way into a corner where they have to throw away any notion of his "pitch count" and get they can from him. Some are still holding out hope that Mark Clayton (stuck on the PUP until week 7 after blowing out his knee early last year) can come back and save the offense. Just a note: when you're hoping for an average/slightly above-average 29-year-old receiver to resurrect your squad, things are bad.