Let’s face it: the St. Louis Rams offense looks deadly, on paper. With Marc Bulger safely ensconced behind the starting center (Rhomberg or McCollum) with a new hefty contract, Steven Jackson continuing to stand crouched in the backfield, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce lining up at their assigned sides of the field, and the newcomers (Bennett, McMichael) getting into their assigned positions.
With an offense like that, what could really go wrong with scoring points? The 2000 St. Louis Rams is the best offense ever, but they didn’t even win the Super Bowl and the defense was the worst in the league. Is the same going to happen with the 2007 Rams? Is the offensive line going to blow over and cause problems? Nadda.
Here’s a little simple Football 101 from a diehard St. Louis Rams fan: to win a football game, or any game in sports, you have to outscore your opponents. In the NFL, you need to take control of the ball and set pace with time of possession so other teams don’t overrule your time that you hold the ball so scoring chances can be optioned on who has had the better time of possession.
“But wait!” you ask. “The 1999, 2000, and 2001 Rams stormed up the field in so many quick seconds in Mad Martz’s offense in ease.” Yes, they did, and that was in the speed kills offense. It was until Super Bowl XXXVI before the greatest offense in NFL history was ever figured out, but you know what they say — defense overrides offense and that’s how the New England Patriots did it (actually, they did it by one extra field goal than the Rams, but you can’t always call ’em can you?)
The Rams have a load of defensive problems flying out of their asses. Fahkir Brown, a crucial piece of the Rams defense, was arrested a couple of weeks ago. And [Claude] Wroten has also gotten himself into. However, it’s not all bad. It allows younger players to be able to get more experience on the field and see what top notch professional football players are all about. But really, that awful run defense from 2005 and 2006 isn’t going away all too soon.
Teams love to run on the Rams no matter who they are sending out there in the backfield because they know they can “easily” put up 100 yards on the Rams D and take control of the game clock. Rams fans much like myself can’t even lament how pissed off we get drive after drive of terrible defensive stops. Backs have been known to strike up the interior of the Rams and just bust out on big gains. I don’t have Tivo, so last season I didn’t get to review over any plays to catch the real problem but it seemed to me that they didn’t understand how to take the proper angles en route to stop the run.
Who’s fault is it? It’s not Jim Haslett’s fault. After the Rams beat the Broncos in the season opener, he didn’t smile after the game; he actually frowned, really. I had a feeling then and there that the defense would tire out as the season went on and the rushing yards would pile up for the opposition’s favor. It did. You can’t blame the fault on one player alone (as I wished I could have blamed Jimmy Kennedy), but you can blame a group of players and that’s where the problems lies. Terrible team defense all around.
Now on the bright side, the Rams dumped off Jamie Kennedy over the offseason and drafted a young Adam Carriker out of Nebraska. They also added defensive end James Hall to play opposite Leonard Little. Hall is capable of 10 sacks, but is he capable of bringing running backs down that try to bounce off the outside to the left? That’s hard to say.
The Rams defensive line is young in other parts in the backup spots, but there’s a position battle to raise a lot of people’s eyes. Victor Adeyanju vs. La’Roi Glover at the other defensive tackle (opposite Carriker.) Glover is still malleable, but 9 years older than Adeyanju. My guess is that Glover will get the starts this season, but that depends on what rate he plays at.
The biggest factor of the season is still a question that will soon be answered — can the Rams D hold off opponents enough for the Rams offense to get onto the field as much as possible?