Having lost two in a row, the Los Angeles Rams offense seems to be slipping. Here is a look at what defenses are doing to stop the Rams, and how they might be able to overcome it.
The Los Angeles Rams had one of the best offenses in the league through 11 weeks, scoring 35 points per game. They looked unstoppable. But after their bye week, they came out against the Lions and looked like their rhythm was off. Then they were held to 6 points by the Bears, a week before losing to the Eagles at home. During this span, Jared Goff has six interceptions to only one touchdown. This is markedly different than the first 11 weeks when Goff had 26 TDs and only 6 interceptions.
So what changed?
According to Ted Nguyen’s article for The Athletic, defensive coaches may have figured out a defensive fix for the Rams scheme.
Early in the year, the Rams relied on the outside zone run play to Todd Gurley to set up play action for big gains in the passing game. According to Nguyen, defenses, starting with the Lions, used nickel personal and allowed the front six defenders (four down lineman and two linebackers) to flow with the direction of the offensive line in an attempt to stop the run. The other five defenders, all defensive backs, maintain pass coverage. The idea is that it allows the defense to not get caught on play action fakes and it limits the damage the Rams can do on play action boot-leg passes.
It has worked.
In addition, Nguyen points out that losing WR Cooper Kupp to injury has meant losing a key run blocker, a skill set neither Josh Reynolds or Robert Woods can replace. On top of all this, the Rams have not executed well, with the offensive line getting beat regularly, which affects Goff’s comfort in the pocket, moving him off of his base and forcing bad throws. Unfortunately, even when Goff has had a clean pocket, he has been missing throws.
The cumulative result of all this is, of course, that the Rams have had three poor offensive performances in a row, and have lost the last two, the first time in the Sean McVay era they have lost back to back games. Nguyen leaves it up to McVay to figure something out and to score points. But here at Ramblin Fan, we like to do more than that. Here is what the Rams need to do to get back on track.
First, the offensive line needs to play like they played early in the year. They need to attack. They need to be in sync. They need to be aggressive in their blocking and pass protections. This is number one.
Second, if they do this, they need to gash teams in the run game, forcing them to bring the defensive backs closer to the line to help stop the run. This falls on the offensive line, but it also falls on McVay, who has been impatient this year at waiting for the run game to open up. Analysts and fans alike have watched games asking, “Where is Todd Gurley?” Committing to the run and forcing teams to respect it would help open things up for the offense.
Lastly, the Rams need to execute. When receivers are open, Goff needs to settle down and make the throws. They need to stay after practice and develop the chemistry that Goff and Kupp appeared to have. Goff needs to stay in the pocket and potentially take some hits in order to complete balls down the field. If they execute on the opportunities they have, it will force the defense to loosen up.
The Los Angeles Rams need to get back on track this week against the Cardinals, who currently hold the worst record in football. Fans are calling for the offense to get back on track.
Will this be the week they do?
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News