So what is going on with the St Louis Rams? We can see the obvious areas that are jacked up (offensive line and wide receivers), but none of us know the root of the problem. We are not there in the huddles or the practices or in the locker room. Is there a poison among the players? Is there a poison among the coaches? The Rams have put a lot of money into building an elite offensive line and yet the word ‘elite’ far from describes their performance. For 3 years (including this year) I have been analyzing the Rams WR talent and have consistently been amazed at the lack of it. Here is what I wrote back in May of this year:
Our first wide receiving pick came in the third round of the draft (we have zero dangerous long ball guys and no one on the Ram’s staff thought it might be important to trade up?). We picked 6’3”, 203 lb, WR, out of Boise, Austin Pettis. His junior and senior years were pretty good. On Nov 14, 2009 he scored 4 TDs in Boise’s defeat of Idaho. The next 2 weeks he scored zero TDs. In 2010 he had 71 receptions for 951 yards and 10 TDs. At the NFL Combine he did not impress and his work out there lead NFL.com to say, “Pettis looks like a solid backup wide receiver…” Awesome, we drafted a good backup.
Next we selected 6’1”, 210 lb, WR out of Hawaii (4th round), Greg Salas. Salas put up some impressive numbers his junior and senior years. In 2009 he accumulated 106 receptions for 1,590 yards and 8 TDS. In 2010 he was even more productive with 119 receptions for 1,889 yards and 14 TDs. These kinds of numbers make you wonder why no one picked him up until the 4th round. At the columbine his numbers were slightly better than Pettis’, but he also did not impress. Here is what NFL.com had to say “…(he) put up some big numbers in a wide-open college passing attack. Doesn’t possess a physical trait in the size or speed departments to be a mismatch at the next level.”
The offensive linemen are smart guys. All of them or most all of them are college grads. If I can do the math… so can they. Have they given up because there is such a blatant neglect in developing our receiving core? Obviously this is a lame reason not to do your job, but when a negative psyche is created it can be a powerful derailment. Coaches scream the importance of winning, but when they are not showing winning behavior themselves (shoring up weak areas under their responsibilities) then a clear mixed message has been sent. We say these guys are getting paid a ton of money to play at a high level and this is true. But they are also just people like you and me and they are affected by their environment. If this were the case (I don’t think it is) then clearly there is a mental poison pervading the Rams.
Being on the outside all we have is speculation. As fans we really shouldn’t have to do the analysis for them. As a fan a couple of things pop into my mind:
1 If I show up to work and don’t do my job; I don’t get to keep my job.
2 Jobs are tough to come by so doing a good job is something that stays in the back of my mind.
3 When I am heartless about my job (and it has happened), then it is time for me to get a new job.
4 When I am paid sick amounts of money (this has never actually happened to me) then I have an added responsibility to give 100% effort. Sometimes I make mistakes, but I can almost always give 100%.
So, no rocket science here… the Rams players and coaches need to simply start doing their jobs. Stop the doomsday talk and start doing your jobs gentlemen.