You have the ball at the one yard line on fourth and goal with the game on the line. Yet, with the NFL’s best secondary, you come out in an empty set in a shotgun formation, showing no threat to run the football whatsoever. Just a side note, your running back has run for 134 yards in the game, but he did just come out of the game with an injury. However, he isn’t even on the field as a decoy. The game ends on an incomplete pass to the corner of the end zone.
To refresh your memory, this was week eight against the Seahawks in which the Rams lost 14-9, and that was how the Rams came out on offense on the game’s last play. Disappointing to say the least, and definitely a head-scratcher.
This was just one of many questionable calls last season and was one of many reasons Rams fans cheered for offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to get the job that he interviewed for at Vanderbilt, and reasons Rams fans wanted him gone.
Time and time again we saw questionable calls, and time and time again we saw “Schotty” misuse weapons such as the talented Tavon Austin. It wasn’t until toward the end of the season that Schottenheimer finally realized that Austin could be explosive.Not to mention it took four weeks into the regular season for Schottenheimer to figure out that this offense wasn’t going to win throwing the football an average of 45 times a game.
It was vanilla game plan after vanilla game plan. When the Rams played the elite teams in the NFC West, it was almost as if the defense knew what was coming before it happened, and yet the Rams stuck with the game plan.
With all of that said however, Rams fans will need to wipe the slate clean for Schottenheimer and even if it is difficult, they will need to trust him, as him being here, at least for the time being, is the best thing for the team.
For Sam Bradford, this will be his 3rd year under this system, and really he had a full season just to sit back and watch it. As terrible as tearing his ACL may have been, Bradford being injured for the majority of the year and being forced to sit back and watch may have been the best thing for him.
For a young team, continuity is the best thing, and with Schottenheimer, the Rams offense has continuity and stability. Most of Rams’ playmakers last season were in their first or second year. Coming in and grasping an entire NFL playbook isn’t an easy thing to do, having another offseason to learn it and grasp it could mean that these players break out this season.
There is no question Schottenheimer struggled last season, and there is no question that he will be on the hot seat this season. However, the difference between this year and last is that unlike last year, the Rams know their identity and know what they want to do, and what they want to do, isn’t much different from how the 2009 and 2010 New York Jets found their success; good defense and running the football.
Just a reminder, the 2009 and 2010 Jets went to back to back AFC championship games, and that was with Mark Sanchez as quarterback. The NFC West and the NFC in general is much better than what Schottenheimer was dealing with then, but the fact is, this guy has a good resume and he knows how to win.
A name can get you into the NFL, but can only get you so far. To be able to call plays and run an NFL offense takes some skill, knowledge of the game, and experience, of which Schottenheimer has. He is by no means the next Mike Martz, but he is the guy the Rams need as he believes in Jeff Fisher’s philosophy.
Last season, for the most part, looked like Bradford was really grasping the system. Bradford had 14 touchdowns with only four interceptions last season, and for the most part, none of those interceptions were directly his fault.
This team will only go as far as Sam Bradford and this defense takes them, and for the first time since his rookie year, Bradford actually looked comfortable running an offense. It may not be the most popular decision, and it may be difficult, but Rams fans, it is time to sit back and trust Brian Schottenheimer.