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Thread: The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

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    The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

    This is from espn insider Danny Tuccitto on espn.com

    Problems with St. Louis' offense


    Without the necessary time to adjust to a new system, Rams sit in neutral


    By: Danny Tuccitto

    Along with "Is there such a thing as a legal hit by a defender?" one of the biggest mysteries of the 2011 NFL season has been, "Why is the St. Louis Rams' offense still so bad?" Going into this season, Rams fans had plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the team's offense, chief among them being the emergence of 2010 No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford as a bona fide franchise quarterback.

    However, there were other developments to get excited about in St. Louis. First, there was the Rams' second-round pick, left tackle Rodger Saffold, whose play allowed the team to move on from their ill-fated Alex Barron experiment. Second, the team's stable of young, talented wide receivers, which had been decimated by injury in 2010, was returning to full health. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the team hired former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels as its new offensive coordinator, presumably because of his impressive track record for developing quarterbacks.

    Yet here we are in Week 14 of the season, and the Rams' offensive statistics in 2011 are almost identical to what they posted in 2010 -- and perhaps worse.

    From a total yardage standpoint, they were 26th in overall offense last season, 21st in passing and 25th in rushing. This year, they're 31st overall and 28th in both passing and rushing.

    We see a similar picture if we instead look at Football Outsiders' DVOA measure of play-by-pay efficiency . In 2010, the Rams ranked 30th in total offense DVOA, 27th in pass offense DVOA and 31st in run offense DVOA. In 2011, they rank 32nd, 31st and 31st, respectively.

    The statistical similarities between 2010 and 2011 don't stop there, especially if we examine the individual performances of positions within the offense. At Football Outsiders, we rank quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends according to DVOA (which is calculated for individual players in the same way it is for an entire offense) and DYAR, which is a measure of each player's overall value to his offense .
    Comparing St. Louis offenses

    According to these statistical rankings, it's apparent that, although several of the names have changed, the individual performances have remained remarkably the same. One can argue that Steven Jackson and the receiving corps have improved somewhat, and that there's been a drop-off at tight end, but the general point still holds. Like the offense overall, St. Louis' offensive players once again rank near the bottom of the league.

    So if that's an accurate description of the illness, then the question becomes, "What's the diagnosis?" Basically, the answer appears -- at least in part -- to be that the McDaniels hire was a move better suited for a typical offseason than one abridged due to a work stoppage.

    The main clue comes from how much worse the offensive line has been in pass protection this year compared to 2010. Specifically, according to our adjusted sack rate (ASR) measure, the Rams' offensive line is giving up sacks approximately 3.3 percent more often in 2011. After ranking 10th in the NFL last year, they've dropped all the way to 29th.

    It's tempting to glean from this that the blame for St. Louis' offensive woes should be placed on injuries and personnel changes (e.g., signing Harvey Dahl to replace Adam Goldberg at starting right guard) along the offensive line. However, a deeper analysis suggests the change in offensive systems shoulders much of, if not most of, that blame.

    Delving into Football Outsiders' game charting database, which contains detailed information about every offensive play of the past several seasons, one learns that the Rams' offense under McDaniels has used max protection only 7 percent of the time this season, as opposed to the 12 percent used by McDaniels' predecessor, Pat Shurmur.

    Furthermore, the Rams' offense this season has lined up in a single-back formation approximately 79 percent of the time, which is 15 percent more often than it did last season. Yes, it's also true that the extra running back has been replaced by an extra tight end -- the Rams line up with two tight ends 14 percent more often this season than last -- but the extra tight end has been employed more typically as a receiver than a blocker.

    Essentially, without the benefit of a full offseason, McDaniels has asked five or six blockers to do the work that six or seven blockers did last year. It's no wonder then that St. Louis offensive linemen have already given up 16 blown-block sacks in 2011, when they gave up only 14 during all of 2010.
    One other area in which a stunted transition to McDaniels' offense has prevented improvement is that he hasn't been able to employ his favorite tactic: the tight end or wide receiver screens. Going back to his days in New England, this play was a staple of his playbook. However, this season, the Rams' offense has run such plays with the same frequency that it did last season under Shurmur.

    Putting this all together, what appears to be a stagnant offense in St. Louis is exactly that. However, it's not because Bradford has regressed, or because of continued injury woes, or because McDaniels was a bad hire. Rather, it's most likely because the team didn't have enough time to fully acclimate itself to one of the most complex offenses in the league.

    Therefore, with a full offseason to look forward to in a month or so, Rams fans should expect better things in 2012 -- if the current offensive coaching staff is still around, of course.

    Danny Tuccitto is an assistant editor at Football Outsiders; you can follow him on Twitter at@FO_DTuccitto.
    Last edited by BarronWade; -12-12-2011 at 05:01 PM.


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    Re: The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

    there was a pretty nice chart comparing the the Rams 2010 team to the 2011 but it did not paste properly it should have been under "comparing the Stlouis offenses" sorry guys

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    Re: The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

    Why didn't McD simplify his offense this year and go with traditional 22 and 23 personnel?

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    Re: The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

    The real problem with the Rams offense is they have scored 140 points thus far in the season.

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    Re: The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

    Quote Originally Posted by BarronWade View Post
    This is from espn insider Danny Tuccitto on espn.com

    Problems with St. Louis' offense


    Without the necessary time to adjust to a new system, Rams sit in neutral


    By: Danny Tuccitto

    Along with "Is there such a thing as a legal hit by a defender?" one of the biggest mysteries of the 2011 NFL season has been, "Why is the St. Louis Rams' offense still so bad?" Going into this season, Rams fans had plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the team's offense, chief among them being the emergence of 2010 No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford as a bona fide franchise quarterback.

    However, there were other developments to get excited about in St. Louis. First, there was the Rams' second-round pick, left tackle Rodger Saffold, whose play allowed the team to move on from their ill-fated Alex Barron experiment. Second, the team's stable of young, talented wide receivers, which had been decimated by injury in 2010, was returning to full health. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the team hired former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels as its new offensive coordinator, presumably because of his impressive track record for developing quarterbacks.

    Yet here we are in Week 14 of the season, and the Rams' offensive statistics in 2011 are almost identical to what they posted in 2010 -- and perhaps worse.

    From a total yardage standpoint, they were 26th in overall offense last season, 21st in passing and 25th in rushing. This year, they're 31st overall and 28th in both passing and rushing.

    We see a similar picture if we instead look at Football Outsiders' DVOA measure of play-by-pay efficiency . In 2010, the Rams ranked 30th in total offense DVOA, 27th in pass offense DVOA and 31st in run offense DVOA. In 2011, they rank 32nd, 31st and 31st, respectively.

    The statistical similarities between 2010 and 2011 don't stop there, especially if we examine the individual performances of positions within the offense. At Football Outsiders, we rank quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends according to DVOA (which is calculated for individual players in the same way it is for an entire offense) and DYAR, which is a measure of each player's overall value to his offense .
    Comparing St. Louis offenses

    According to these statistical rankings, it's apparent that, although several of the names have changed, the individual performances have remained remarkably the same. One can argue that Steven Jackson and the receiving corps have improved somewhat, and that there's been a drop-off at tight end, but the general point still holds. Like the offense overall, St. Louis' offensive players once again rank near the bottom of the league.

    So if that's an accurate description of the illness, then the question becomes, "What's the diagnosis?" Basically, the answer appears -- at least in part -- to be that the McDaniels hire was a move better suited for a typical offseason than one abridged due to a work stoppage.

    The main clue comes from how much worse the offensive line has been in pass protection this year compared to 2010. Specifically, according to our adjusted sack rate (ASR) measure, the Rams' offensive line is giving up sacks approximately 3.3 percent more often in 2011. After ranking 10th in the NFL last year, they've dropped all the way to 29th.

    It's tempting to glean from this that the blame for St. Louis' offensive woes should be placed on injuries and personnel changes (e.g., signing Harvey Dahl to replace Adam Goldberg at starting right guard) along the offensive line. However, a deeper analysis suggests the change in offensive systems shoulders much of, if not most of, that blame.

    Delving into Football Outsiders' game charting database, which contains detailed information about every offensive play of the past several seasons, one learns that the Rams' offense under McDaniels has used max protection only 7 percent of the time this season, as opposed to the 12 percent used by McDaniels' predecessor, Pat Shurmur.

    Furthermore, the Rams' offense this season has lined up in a single-back formation approximately 79 percent of the time, which is 15 percent more often than it did last season. Yes, it's also true that the extra running back has been replaced by an extra tight end -- the Rams line up with two tight ends 14 percent more often this season than last -- but the extra tight end has been employed more typically as a receiver than a blocker.

    Essentially, without the benefit of a full offseason, McDaniels has asked five or six blockers to do the work that six or seven blockers did last year. It's no wonder then that St. Louis offensive linemen have already given up 16 blown-block sacks in 2011, when they gave up only 14 during all of 2010.
    One other area in which a stunted transition to McDaniels' offense has prevented improvement is that he hasn't been able to employ his favorite tactic: the tight end or wide receiver screens. Going back to his days in New England, this play was a staple of his playbook. However, this season, the Rams' offense has run such plays with the same frequency that it did last season under Shurmur.

    Putting this all together, what appears to be a stagnant offense in St. Louis is exactly that. However, it's not because Bradford has regressed, or because of continued injury woes, or because McDaniels was a bad hire. Rather, it's most likely because the team didn't have enough time to fully acclimate itself to one of the most complex offenses in the league.

    Therefore, with a full offseason to look forward to in a month or so, Rams fans should expect better things in 2012 -- if the current offensive coaching staff is still around, of course.

    Danny Tuccitto is an assistant editor at Football Outsiders; you can follow him on Twitter at@FO_DTuccitto.
    Did Spags write this??? Gosh he'll do anything to save his job.
    RamFan_Til_I_Die likes this.

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    Re: The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

    All I read was blah blah blah. Winner's adapt. McDaniels did not, and we all see the result. Look at Denver and Tebow. They are making this crap up as they go and it's working. Put Tebow in a McDaniels type offense and you'd see a failure of epic proportions. When things don;t go as planned you have to make changes. Can anyone honestly tell me McDaniels has been mixing it up and reworking his offense plan to maximize the talent we have on the offense? If he is, I'm sure not seeing it.

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    Re: The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

    Blame the off season just once again. That was 4 months ago. You're telling me that 4 months isn't long enough to learn a playbook? NFL professionals, the best in the world are having troubles learning a playbook in 4 months? All because we missd what, 1 month of training?

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    Re: The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Blame the off season just once again. That was 4 months ago. You're telling me that 4 months isn't long enough to learn a playbook? NFL professionals, the best in the world are having troubles learning a playbook in 4 months? All because we missd what, 1 month of training?
    Just heard on ESPN they said 30% of the Rams team was not on the team during camp. Bottom line Spags failed to find a way to win games we where in with the hand he was dealt. It is was it is...

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    Re: The Real Problem with the Rams Offense...and its not an excuse its the truth

    Quote Originally Posted by sadhappy View Post
    Why didn't McD simplify his offense this year and go with traditional 22 and 23 personnel?
    I have been asking that since the second game this year!!!
    "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

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