A-gap blitzes are the kryptonite of any NFL quarterback. That’s due to the fact that an A-gap blitz puts a defender in the quarterback’s face before the quarterback can look up and see how the play is developing. As we tear down the Rams 2019 struggles, the truth is that the Rams offense suffered mightily in 2019 each time the offensive line struggled with blitzes up the middle. When it happens, offenses can neither run nor pass effectively.
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That’s going to show in the box stats in many ways, none of which are positive. The running game will be less effective. As defenses succeed in tackles-for-losses (TFLs) or just meeting the running back at the line of scrimmage, rushing yardage suffers. Red zone scoring was not impacted, because the offense stacks big bodies side by side to create a wall of blockers capable of pushing the ball into the end zone.
But in the open field, the offensive formation allowed defenders to rush on either side of the overwhelmed center. As a result, the offense appeared to abandon the running game sooner. That shift placed more pressure on the passing game and upon the quarterback who was already under a great deal of pressure due to the blitz. To counter, Goff had to attempt to outflank defensive pressure by throwing it to the outside receiver quickly.
And thus the “no progression” score for the 2019 season on Rams QB Jared Goff. Progression reads success rate dropping was a symptom of other things happening with the 2019 offense. Thankfully, the Rams coaching staff is wise enough to diagnose that correctly. Even more astutely, the advent of offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell’s first season has already begun to fast-track the growth of still-young quarterback Jared Goff. O’Connell is not going to just fix things and make the problems go away. He is requiring Goff to get involved with the offensive fix. In O’Connell’s words, he wants Goff to take ownership.