QUESTION: What is your thinking on why the Rams have had so many problems protecting Sam Bradford this season?
First of all, the Rams’ offensive line represents the worst investment of money, and the biggest waste of money, in the history of St. Louis professional sports. It must be hard to pass block when your uniform is lined with all of those 100-dollar bills.
Next, there’s the Josh McDaniels’ downfield-passing offense. One problem with that: Rams wideouts can’t get open downfield. Bradford waiting for them to get open is about as futile as a guy trying to catch a taxi in the rain. Gonna get hit. Gonna get wet. (Hopefully, Brandon Lloyd will help in this area). When the receivers do get open, there’s a chance they’ll catch the ball. Maybe, maybe not.
Lastly, Bradford has to get rid of the football with a little more urgency. There’s no need to take a hit or a sack when there’s no chance of making a downfield connection. Throwing it away is a better alternative.
Contrary to popular belief, the pass blocking has been pretty good against the New York Giants and Green Bay. But if you had to name one thing, it would be the play of young offensive tackles Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith. After his strong play last season, Saffold has experienced a sophomore slump; he was much better pass-blocking last week in Green Bay (although he did hurt the team with penalties). And Smith played one of his better games.
And before you line up the offensive line and line coach Steve Loney before a firing squad, consider this: More than a third of the sacks allowed this year have had nothing to do with the o-line. There have been blocking breakdowns by the tight ends, the running backs, and there have been several times when QB Sam Bradford has simply held the ball too long waiting for receivers to get open in a scheme that features more downfield throwing.
Jason Smith is a pass blocking liability at right tackle. Left tackle Rodger Saffold has channeled his inner Alex Barron and become a human penalty machine – forcing Bradford into unfavorable down-and-distance situations. The Josh McDaniels offense features more deep patterns . . . and the Rams receivers haven’t been getting open consistently enough, leaving Sam holding the ball. Throw in an unhealthy number of protection mix-ups and Bradford has taken a beating.
Seems like the O-line is having trouble adjusting to Josh McDaniels’ offense. Bradford’s deeper drops take more time, which puts more pressure on the line. In addition, since the Rams have been playing from behind so much, opposing defenses can take more chances and set their sights on getting to the quarterback.
ROGER HENSLEY | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Posted: Friday, October 21, 2011 12:56 pm