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We sent five questions over to Turf Show Times to check in on the St. Louis Rams and get some insight into what went wrong this year. Their answers are below:
1) With the offensive changes this week (new offensive coordinator, Case Keenum as the starter) what are the expectations for the Rams' offense this week?
There are none. Expectations for any offense died seasons ago. The Rams haven't even been in the top half of NFL offenses by yards gained since 2006.
If I'm being fair though, the Rams aren't built for offense. The team was constructed largely on the back of the defense, so the only real ask of the offense was to avoid turnovers and win field position battles with a forceful running game. It's no coincidence that the Rams' current five-game losing streak overlaps with rookie RB Todd Gurley's inability to produce behind a very, very unimpressive offensive line. So there's just no reason to anticipate much activity when the Rams have the ball.
2) Todd Gurley is in the running for offensive rookie of the year, what does it take to stop the young phenom?
His own teammates. That's largely what's contributed to his faceplant into the rookie wall since Week 8. In his first four starts, Gurley was averaging 22 carries, 141.5 yards and just under a touchdown per game. Since then amid the current five-game losing streak, it's 15.8/52/0.6. And it's trending downward. In the Rams' last two pitiful performances, those numbers are down to 9/30/0... Teams are just loading up against the Rams' running game, and why not? It's not like the Rams' league-worst passing attack forces defenses to assign much capital to defend.
So like most any running game in the NFL, it's not only about the running back. It's about the offensive line and the larger offensive context. Right now, both of those are so pitiful it doesn't really matter how individually talented Todd Gurley is.
3) At Pride of Detroit, we obsess over passing on Aaron Donald in the draft. Can you say something bad about him to ease the pain?
He's stuck on the Rams? He's a phenomenal player, no doubt about it. And while I doubt Rams fans would entertain but few offers to part with Donald, I can guarantee nearly all would be comfortable plugging in Eric Ebron at tight end over Jared Cook.
So maybe that's where you can draw some comfort. We've got jealousies of our own.
4) What specifically has gone wrong since the 4-3 start that has caused the Rams' five-game losing streak?
The offense has just been unable to adjust to teams loading up on the run. And as those yards plummeted, the Rams' inability to move the ball (and the overwhelming disparity between how much their defense and offense is playing) has just castrated the entire team. Going off of the offense's snaps per game, the defense has played two more games worth of football than the offense. They're looking tired and understandably so. It takes some kind of offense to win games, and the Rams just aren't getting any.
5) What's your prediction for Lions-Rams?
Well my worry is that we're going to see a repeat of the Rams' 13-16 loss to the Ravens three weeks ago in what was the worst football game I've seen all season. But who knows. Maybe this is a chance for one of us to play against type. I'd certainly prefer that than what we've been privy to the last month...