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Andrew Whitworth questions Booger McFarland's take on Rams' O-line

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  • Andrew Whitworth questions Booger McFarland's take on Rams' O-line

    By: Cameron DaSilva | 11 hours ago Follow @camdasilva

    For the first nine weeks of the season, the Rams’ offensive line was playing like one of the best in the NFL. Jared Goff was only sacked 17 times in that span, receiving excellent protection from the big men up front.

    In the final seven games of the season, Goff took a bit of a pounding. He was sacked 16 times in those seven games, which included two early exits in Weeks 16 and 17. The line was struggling to protect Goff, leading to fumbles and rushed throws.


    Well, on Saturday night against the Cowboys, the Rams’ offensive line played its best game of the last two years. Goff was hit just once and wasn’t sacked a single time, while the Rams rushed for a franchise postseason-record 273 yards as a team.

    After the game, Andrew Whitworth had a message for ESPN’s Booger McFarland, who called the Rams’ offensive line one of the four biggest liabilities in the playoffs.


    Andrew Whitworth

    @awhitworth77
    What up @ESPNBooger

    J.B. Long

    @JB_Long
    Gotta love the @RamsNFL liabilities.

    Offensive line: 273 rushing, 0 sacks allowed

    Run defense: 50 yards surrendered

    Already liked @ESPNBooger before this week. Huge fan now for this bulletin board material. More next week, please!


    Whitworth is a savvy veteran and typically keeps to himself, but he couldn’t help but troll McFarland over this tweet. It was quite the take that was immediately proved wrong by Los Angeles’ big men up front.

    And to make matters worse, McFarland also called out the Rams’ run defense, which gave up just 47 yards to Ezekiel Elliott on 20 carries. Not a bad performance from ones of the “remaining liabilities” still in the playoffs.

  • #2
    Already liked @ESPNBooger before this week. Huge fan now for this bulletin board material. More next week, please!
    Works for me.

    Comment

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    • MauiRam
      Jared Goff already notices a difference with Rams' new O-line ..
      MauiRam
      1:30 AM HST
      Alden Gonzalez
      ESPN Staff Writer

      THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Rams' offense flowed better -- better than it did at any point last season -- during Saturday's preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, which offered the first meaningful sample size under this new, offensive-minded coaching staff. Jared Goff was more efficient, Todd Gurley was more patient, the receivers and tight ends were more, well, open.

      But there was something else: The pocket looked cleaner, a product of a new offensive line that should be a lot stronger on Goff's blind side.

      A reworked line and a new offense could keep Jared Goff (16) from absorbing the type of beating the quarterback took during his rookie season.
      Goff himself is already noticing the difference.

      "No doubt," the second-year quarterback said. "I think just as a whole, they’ve really worked together. They’re starting to jell, and I think you saw that last Saturday. The Oakland defensive line is no slouch. They’ve got some dudes over there, and they did a great job keeping them away and giving me a good pocket. It wasn’t just throw it and get hit; it was clean the whole night. It was. No one really around me."

      Behind the Rams' offensive line last season, Goff absorbed an NFL-high 25 sacks over the final six weeks and Gurley averaged 1.59 yards before first contact for the entire season, ranked 41st among 42 running backs with enough carries to qualify.

      The Rams have since replaced Greg Robinson, one of the game's worst left tackles, with Andrew Whitworth, one of the game's best. They kept Rodger Saffold, their best offensive lineman last season, at left guard. And they brought in veteran center John Sullivan, who spent last season as a backup under Sean McVay -- now the Rams head coach -- with the Redskins and seems to be fully recovered from prior back injuries. On the right side are third-year players Rob Havenstein (tackle) and Jamon Brown (guard).

      Gurley needed only eight carries to reach 38 rushing yards Saturday, and Goff only took one sack, courtesy of reigning defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. Through the first two preseason games, Pro Football Focus has the Rams' first-team offensive line allowing just three pressures on 109 pass-blocking attempts.

      More people play on ESPN than anywhere else. Join or create a league in the No. 1 Fantasy Football game! Sign up for free!
      That is stunningly low for any team, but particularly the Rams.

      "It’s been a good camp," Gurley said. "We’ve been getting better. Each game, we’ll see how we do. We just have to go out there and just compete and communicate. Even though I might have a 1-yard run, we may have done one or two things, whether it’s me or a lineman or someone back side -- 1-yard runs can always be 20-yard runs. It’s just the little things, going out there...
      -08-25-2017, 10:31 AM
    • Nick
      Hammond: Pitiful finale is a fitting end to the Rams' miserable season
      Nick
      Pitiful finale is a fitting end to the Rams' miserable season
      Jan. 1, 2017 Updated 8:25 p.m.
      By RICH HAMMOND / STAFF WRITER

      LOS ANGELES – The Rams drove moving vans to St. Louis 22 years ago, after a 4-12 season. They returned this season and went 4-12. Who says that generations of football fans here missed anything?

      Brighter days are ahead for the Rams. They must be, because the current environment is pitch-dark. A young roster regressed. The offense, awful in 2015, somehow got worse. The talented defense had a handful of high-profile meltdowns. The highlight of the Rams’ season? The success of their punter.

      It all culminated Sunday, in fitting fashion, as the Rams completely collapsed and mercifully pulled rookie quarterback Jared Goff in the fourth quarter of a 44-6 season-ending loss to Arizona at the Coliseum.

      “In life and in football, whatever you do, it’s not always going to be up, up, up, up,” Goff said after he recovered from being sacked seven times. “There’s going to be down years, down games, down times in your life. The way you get better from them is, you learn from them. That’s what we need to do.”

      The Rams finished the season with seven consecutive losses. They won one time after Oct. 2. They had their worst season since 2011. They turned in one of the worst offensive seasons in franchise history.

      This season’s positives? Nobody suffered any devastating injuries, and Johnny Hekker punted well. What else can be deduced? Where did these Rams, who went 7-9 in 2015, show any growth?

      It’s unwise to put much thought into the final three games. The Rams essentially wrote them off when they fired Jeff Fisher on Dec. 12. Still, the Rams could have played for pride, and instead they showed little enthusiasm Sunday, particularly when they were outscored 28-0 in a dismal second half.

      “It was a tough loss, man,” cornerback Trumaine Johnson said. “I’m speechless, to be honest with you. It’s been a rough season.”

      The Rams trailed only 16-6 early in the third quarter. Then their first two drives of the third quarter netted minus-27 yards, and the Cardinals scored two touchdowns on nine plays and took a 30-6 lead.

      A dismal season ended with a series of lows. The Rams suffered their worst losing margin of the season and netted a season-low 122 yards. They failed to score a touchdown for the fifth time in 16 games and, four minutes into the fourth quarter, pulled Goff, who completed 13 of 20 attempts for 120 yards.

      The Cardinals brutalized Goff in sacking him seven times. The Rams ran for 51 yards. That prompted one question: These are supposed to be the guys who will help Goff become a star?

      Everything about the Rams must be questioned, and that task will fall to the new coach. Interviews will begin this week, and while the job is presumed to be an attractive one, the holes are significant....
      -01-01-2017, 09:33 PM
    • Nick
      How good, or bad, will Jared Goff be in Year 2? It's anybody's guess
      Nick
      How good, or bad, will Jared Goff be in Year 2? It's anybody's guess
      2:09 PM ET
      Alden Gonzalez
      ESPN Staff Writer

      THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano witnessed the proverbial "Year 2 Leap" firsthand with Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. The game started to slow down; third-down blitz packages and safety rotations became easier to pick up.

      By the end of it, Luck had cut his interceptions in half over the course of his second NFL season, his quarterback rating jumping from 76.5 to 87.0 from 2012 to 2013.

      And that brings us to Jared Goff, a downright mystery in the build-up to the 2017 regular season.

      Goff should be better as a second-year player, but by how much?

      The Los Angeles Rams knew he needed work when they made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, but they probably didn't anticipate him needing that much. Goff wasn't named the starter until Week 11, then lost all seven of his starts and finished with a Total QBR of 22.2, the lowest among quarterbacks who played in at least five games.

      But that was under dire circumstances. His offensive line was bad, his running game nonexistent, his receivers inferior and his coaching staff generally lacking in experience with his position. Now Goff is in a system that has proven to get the most out of quarterbacks, while operating behind an improved offensive line and throwing to a deeper, more talented group of receivers. And it's hard to really know what to expect.

      Asked in what ways he believes he is better since the end of his rookie season, Goff said: "I think just understanding the intent of stuff that we do and understanding what the defense is trying to do and what the intent of their calls are, and different ways to attack it. With that, the game just begins to slow down a little bit. I think that's what you ultimately feel. I felt it from Year 1 to Year 2. At every level you're at, you get that slowdown effect a little bit from those two years. And I think it continues to slow down as time goes on."

      The Rams have done their best not to put too much pressure on Goff, at least publicly. First-year head coach Sean McVay, who worked wonders with Kirk Cousins in Washington, has talked mostly about the need for Goff to limit turnovers and distribute the ball in an effort to open holes for his star running back, Todd Gurley, who didn't see many holes last season.

      The expectations remain basic.

      "We expect him to make good decisions, throw with accuracy and rhythm," McVay said. "If he does that, then I think he'll give himself a chance to play good football for us."

      Goff is at a point in his career where he will frequently flash his potential and also make critical mistakes, reminding you that he is still only 22 years old. He threw six interceptions during a three-day...
      -09-07-2017, 02:31 PM
    • Nick
      Rams quarterback Jared Goff suffers rough preseason home game
      Nick
      Rams quarterback Jared Goff suffers rough preseason home game
      By Rich Hammond, rhammond@scng.com,, @Rich_Hammond on Twitter
      POSTED: 08/26/17, 10:20 PM PDT | UPDATED: 3 HRS AGO 0 COMMENTS

      LOS ANGELES >> A sideline completion, and an “ooh” from the crowd. Alert movement in the pocket, and a 22-yard dump-off, and an “aah.” Jared Goff had two brilliant minutes on Saturday.

      The rest was eye-averting stuff. It’s unfair to entirely blame Goff for how quickly, and dramatically, things spiraled against the Chargers at the Coliseum. But in what likely was Goff’s preseason finale -- a 21-19 Chargers victory -- Goff and his coaches certainly hoped for a more-positive send-off, and instead got stuff that was tough to watch.

      “There were obviously a couple (throws) I’d like to have back,” Goff said. “It’s all good stuff to learn from. At the end of the day, you’d rather have it happen in the preseason.”

      Goff, in his first series, marched the Rams to the Chargers’ 8-yard line, but then he suffered a didn’t-see-him sack from the Chargers’ Joey Bosa and fumbled, which led to a 76-yard touchdown return and a 14-0 Chargers lead. Bosa charged in, unhindered, from the right side of the Rams’ offensive line.

      Given an immediate chance to rebound on the next series, Goff got flattened again, but not before he lofted a pass directly to Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett for an interception.

      Receiver Sammy Watkins looked around after the play, seemingly indicating that he and Goff had suffered some miscommunication, but Goff said the mistake belonged to him and that he didn’t handle the pass rush well enough.

      “I felt someone coming,” Goff said, “and I have to stand in there.”

      After the interception, Coach Sean McVay apparently had seen enough. Goff stayed in but, on his next series, the Rams ran the ball nine consecutive times. When the Rams finally risked a pass attempt, Goff got hit hard again but managed a 7-yard completion to Robert Woods.

      Finally, McVay had seen enough, and backup Sean Mannion entered in the middle of the second quarter. Goff finished 5 of 8 for 56 yards, and what to make of that?

      A Goff optimistic would note the offensive-line breakdown on the Bosa sack, and the possible miscommunication with Watkins, a new teammate, and also note that Goff preceded those turnovers with two impressive completions. Goff hit Woods for a sharp sideline completion and then, two plays later, avoided major pocket pressure, stepped up and found Malcolm Brown for a 22-yard completion.

      Goff also was coming off a universally praised effort a week earlier about Oakland, but the fact is the Rams wanted to see consistency and some momentum, and they took a step back.

      “He has done a lot of good things (in the preseason) and he has improved a lot,” McVay said.

      Goff (and the rest of the Rams’ offensive...
      -08-27-2017, 08:06 AM
    • MauiRam
      Data dislike Goff and, thus, the Rams' 2017 prospects ..
      MauiRam
      Seth Walder ESPN Analyt

      Expectations for Jared Goff and the Rams' offense really can't get any lower.

      One year after the former Cal quarterback was selected with the first overall pick by the Rams, Los Angeles' offense is widely anticipated to be one of the worst -- if not the worst -- in the NFL. ESPN's FPI thinks even that is generous.

      Under the hood in FPI are two offensive strength predictions for each team: one assuming the starting quarterback is playing and the other assuming the backup is playing. Both measurements incorporate expected points added per play and are derived from a combination of the team's offensive performance the year before, a version of the quarterback's
      Total QBR
      history and a team's Vegas win total.

      With 32 teams and two quarterbacks apiece, that means 64 theoretical offenses are ranked. The Rams with Jared Goff under center? They're behind the Colts with Scott Tolzien, the Jaguars with Chad Henne and the Jets with Bryce Petty. That's right: The Rams with Goff are predicted to have the 64th-best offense among the group -- dead last. That's the kind of forecast that probably leaves Rams fans yearning for the days of guaranteed mediocrity under Jeff Fisher.

      But being 64th means something else, too. It shows that FPI thinks the Rams, at this moment, would have a better chance of winning with backup Sean Mannion-- he of 13 career pass attempts -- instead of Goff. While FPI doesn't project the Rams' offense with recently signed veteran Dan Orlovsky because he is the third-string quarterback, it's safe to assume that FPI would also predict Los Angeles to have a better chance with the 33-year-old manning the offense, based on the Lions' predicted EPA/P with him as their backup last year and how little the metric thinks of Goff.

      This, of course, comes on the heels of a disastrous rookie season in which Goff couldn't even beat Case Keenumfor the top spot on the depth chart until the 10th game of the season and then posted a QBR of 22.2 in his seven starts.

      Optimists will point out that the situation Goff walked into wasn't ideal. It's true -- his teammates did not ease his transition to the pros.

      Goff was constantly under duress during his seven weeks as a starter. He was sacked a league-high 26 times in that span and dealt with pressure on 35.6 percent of his dropbacks, third-most in the NFL. Opponents blitzed him like crazy -- more than anyone else in the league during those weeks. Interestingly, despite his offensive line allowing pressure on 53.8 percent of dropbacks when blitzed (the second-highest rate in the NFL during that span), Goff was actually better when opponents brought five or more pass-rushers. When he wasn't blitzed, Goff's protection was better, though, as the Rams allowed him to be pressured at only the 10th-highest rate in the league.

      Once/if Goff got rid of the ball, his teammates still...
      -07-28-2017, 03:13 AM
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