Where in the World is Sack City?


In three of the past four seasons, the St. Louis Rams have finished in the top five when it comes to getting to the quarterback and accumulating sacks. If it’s one team that had a reputation for getting in the backfield and giving opposing quarterbacks headaches, it was the St. Louis Rams.

Due to this reputation Rams fans started to call this front four “Sack City”. Unfortunately, in 2014, the group that is known as Sack City has been nonexistent.

That has not been the case in 2014. This season through three games, the St. Louis Rams have only come up with one sack which ranks as solely the worst in the NFL. The only recorded sack that the Rams have, didnt even come from the supposed ferocious front four that consists of four first round draft picks.. It came from veteran linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

The fact that the Rams can’t get to the quarterback is very frustrating, especially given the fact of how much investment the team has put into them. Four first round draft picks and not to mention they just signed last year’s NFC sack leader Robert Quinn to a $66-million deal.

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The blame can’t be put all on the Rams defensive line however. Quarterbacks and offensive coordinators are calling plays that call for the ball to come out faster. In week one against the Vikings, Matt Cassell was getting rid of the ball in an average time of 2.25 seconds, the third fastest of the week. The very next game Cassell was up to 2.82 seconds, the eighth slowest.

In week two when the Rams went up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Josh McCown was getting rid of the ball in 2.35 seconds. In the weeks one and three, McCown was up to 2.78 and 2.69 seconds.

Although that doesn’t seem like a big jump, that much is the difference between getting sacked and getting rid of the ball. Coordinators and quarterbacks are doing a good job calling quick passes and the Rams just have to find a way to counter that by tightening up in the secondary.

Another reason for the Rams struggles getting to the quarterback is simply by design. In some situations the Rams are only rushing three or four guys, and this was the case on the two third and long’s in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys.

Ideally, you’d like to be able to pick up a coverage sack in those situations, however, realistically thats just not going to happen on a consistent basis. With the talent on the Rams defensive line you’d like to see it, but against good offensive lines it’s not going to happen.

Lastly, the Rams are simply getting unlucky with penalties. Every team does, they say you can call holding on every play in the NFL. However, at times it gets to the point of ridiculous. A great example of this was on the big play to Dez Bryant that put the Cowboys within four points.

You can clearly see that Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford is being held. Unfortunately, the officials didnt see it and 68-yards down the field Bryant was wide open with nobody around to stop him from scoring a touchdown.

The bright side in all this is that it is fixable. The Rams have the talent and ability to get to the quarterback, they just aren’t getting it done right now. With a week to figure everything out over the bye week, the Rams will have time to get their pass rushing problems fixed.

Somewhere in the St. Louis area lies Sack City, the St. Louis Rams just have to find it.