Far too predictable
So the Rams have a quarterback who is clearly going to throw, an offense with a running game that can be completely disregarded, and a passing attack that throws 65 percent of the forward passes to either WR Cooper Kupp or TE Tyler Higbee. Now the image begins to come into focus.
No matter how often a team trains, drills, or practices, passing the football continues to have elements of chance, much like a lottery scratch ticket or a Bingo card. Offenses improve the odds with deception. Defenses improve their odds of breaking up passes by watching video footage, tracking tendencies, and plotting a strategy to neutralize the best offensive weapons that they will face.
With the Rams routing nearly two of three passing plays to either Cooper Kupp or Tyler Higbee, guess who defenses will consider the best offensive weapons?
Kupp continues to produce, currently catching nearly 83 percent of the passes thrown his way. He’s put up 236 yards and three touchdowns as well. So that seems to be on track.
Higbee’s historic career low
TE Tyler Higbee is a different matter altogether. He is catching only 60 percent of the passes thrown his way, putting up just 110 yards and no touchdowns in 20 targets so far this season. His volume of passes is nearly equal to the number of targets thrown to the next three receivers on the Rams list.
The Rams fall into horrific patterns that are easily detected by opposing defenses. The tendency to fall into very predictable patterns has caused problems for the offense in the past. Now, the pattern has been amplified because the Rams offense is almost addicted to throwing to Kupp and Higbee, with no viable threat of running the football effectively.
Higbee has historically been a 70 percent completion type of receiver. But he has been more of a flourish, a side dish, and is not built to be a primary offensive weapon on a week-in and week-out basis. His 60 percent catch rate this season illustrates that. He is not built to be a high-volume receiver.
Can a fullback fix this?
Putting WR Ben Skowronek into a fullback-like role on the offense was incredibly effective in Week 2. Forcing defenses to re-think their game plan gives the edge back to the Rams’ offense and Matthew Stafford.
In conclusion, the Rams can fix the problems that are compelling Matthew Stafford to throw an unprecedented and unsustainable number of interceptions, but it will take a significant commitment by the coaching staff and players to do so.
The LA Rams must run. The LA Rams must get more receivers heavily involved in the passing game. And finally, the Rams must ensure that Matthew Stafford is protected in the pocket. The season is early, and the offense is capable of fixing everything relatively quickly.
But if the Rams let their guard down, even for one game, the ugly interception curse will return.