4. After allowing Cordarrelle Patterson to torch them for over 100 rushing yards in week 1, the Rams allowed Bobby Rainey–the Buccaneers’ back-up running back–to rush for 144 yards on 22 carries. Chris Long was out with his injured ankle, but nonetheless, why is the Rams’ vaunted defensive line getting gashed this badly so far this season? Any suggestions on how to fix the problem?
Aug 23, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joel Bitonio (75) and tackle Joe Thomas (73) block St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) in the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan K.: Not sure it is the defensive line being gashed, although there is certainly plenty of blame to go around. When I watch the film, I see a handful of issues: missed tackles, poor alignment, and unlucky play calling. The first two can “hopefully” be addressed, particularly as this “new” starting unit begins to gel and Gregg Williams’ settles in as the defensive coordinator. The issue for St. Louis, luckily, is not consistently allowing large chunks of yards, but, rather, allowing one or two massive runs that skew the final totals. If they can prevent those handful of big-gainers, they should quickly jump from the 30th overall run defense.
Blaine G.: I don’t know what the problem is, but whatever it is, it needs to be fixed. Right now the Rams’ run defense is boom or bust. 10 of Bobby Rainey’s 22 carries totaled -2 yards while only 5 went for 102. It all starts with consistency, and this defense needs to be more consistent–plain and simple.
Anthony K.: I agree with Blaine on this one–whatever the problem is, the Rams need to fix it, and fix it quickly. Their defensive line was supposed to remind people of the vaunted Fearsome Foursome of the late 60s and early 70s, and instead, this defensive line looks like the worst the Rams have had in years. Not only have the Rams been allowing a ton of rushing yards, but they also have only ONE sack. That’s pathetic. They have WAY too much talent–even with Chris Long out for a couple of months–to be this bad. Thankfully, as Nate pointed out, the issues they’ve had appear to be ‘fixable’ and not a simple matter of there not being enough talent, so I have hope that Gregg Williams can turn the defense around in short order.