Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

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RamBill
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Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby RamBill » 09 Jan 2017, 21:11

Whicker: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

By MARK WHICKER / STAFF COLUMNIST

Unless the Rams are using their head coaching interviews to ask how quickly this offensive line can be repealed and replaced, they might as well be playing gin rummy.

Perhaps you are only dimly aware of how poorly the Rams transported the football through enemy lines, or across yard lines. If so, try on these numbers:

• Next-to-last in the NFL in quarterback rating.

• Third-from-last in yards per pass attempt.

• Next to last in yards per rush.

• Last in third-down conversions.

• Last in touchdowns.

When the magic ran out for Case Keenum, we pleaded for the Rams to play Jared Goff. When Goff went winless and was lucky not to finish the season headless, we scratched our chins and said, “Hmmm, this offensive line has problems.”

“I watched them all year,” said Doug Smith, the center from the Eric Dickerson years, now an assistant coach at Orange Coast College. “I think they need more of a veteran presence, someone to provide some mentoring, like I got from guys like Tom Mack and Rich Saul.”

Perhaps. Rodger Saffold, who was the top lineman on the team according to Pro Football Focus, is a seven-year veteran, and center Tim Barnes has played five years. The others were second- and third-year players, including left tackle Greg Robinson, a former No. 2 overall pick who was benched for a time.

When the old Rams could do nothing else, they could always block. Jackie Slater had 211 NFL starts, Smith 160, Irv Pankey 122, Kent Hill 114 and Tom Newberry 143.

“When it was third-and-short we knew we were running behind Jackie,” Smith said. “Irv was that typical Penn State guy, highly intelligent and tough. Kent Hill could outrun some of the backs. I played with Dennis Harrah, too, and he’d be talking to himself during the games, telling himself to do it better. Me, I was more of a religious type. I was praying most of the time.”

Thanks to free agency, you can’t keep the band together. So the Rams either need an offensive line coach who doubles as an illusionist or a bunch of new players.

Because they gave up this year’s first- and third-round draft picks in the package for Goff, this will not be a turn-key process.

The Cowboys are the current template. They took left tackle Tyron Smith (USC) in 2011, center Travis Frederick in 2013 and Zack Martin in 2014, all in the first round. Now they can win with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, who rarely needs Wisk to wash his jersey.

When A.J. Smith was putting together playoff teams in San Diego, he faced an OL makeover. He signed free agent left tackle Roman Oben and right tackle Mike Goff, used a third-round pick on center Nick Hardwick and a seventh on guard Shane Olivea. Then he took an ill-tempered defensive tackle and moved him to guard, and Kris Dielman became a Pro Bowl player. When Oben aged out, there was second-round pick Marcus McNeill.

Read Complete Article
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/rams ... third.html



toast49
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby toast49 » 09 Jan 2017, 21:28

I hate to say it, but I think the O line is the best unit on the offense currently. Better QB play, better RB's and better receivers are what this team needs.



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Dick84
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Dick84 » 09 Jan 2017, 21:30

toast49 wrote:I hate to say it, but I think the O line is the best unit on the offense currently. Better QB play, better RB's and better receivers are what this team needs.


Um.


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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby UplandRam » 09 Jan 2017, 21:35

Dick84 wrote:
toast49 wrote:I hate to say it, but I think the O line is the best unit on the offense currently. Better QB play, better RB's and better receivers are what this team needs.


Um.


You're joking of course.... right?



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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Rameosian » 10 Jan 2017, 01:29

There's many holes to be fixed on the Rams roster, but if they can stabilize the OL next year I think we can avoid being labeled as a 'rebuild.' A monumental task but it would help Gurley resume his career and accelerate Goffs development. Here's my take on making this happen:

LT- Saffold
LG- GRob
C- free agent
RG- Havenstein
RT- 2nd RD pick

Both Havenstein and GRob are supposed bruisers but don't appear nimble enough to hold off the quick edge pass rushers. So plug them in the middle where they can utilize their strength. The real tricky part of this make-over is management's ability to actually identify a talented college OT that can play right away. Finally, bring in a f/a to upgrade the center position. I don't see this as a top 10 unit but with good coaching I think we could be a middle of the pack O-Line. That would be a start and give us time to add additional needed players.



Massimo
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Massimo » 10 Jan 2017, 06:50

Rameosian wrote:There's many holes to be fixed on the Rams roster, but if they can stabilize the OL next year I think we can avoid being labeled as a 'rebuild.' A monumental task but it would help Gurley resume his career and accelerate Goffs development. Here's my take on making this happen:

LT- Saffold
LG- GRob
C- free agent
RG- Havenstein
RT- 2nd RD pick

Both Havenstein and GRob are supposed bruisers but don't appear nimble enough to hold off the quick edge pass rushers. So plug them in the middle where they can utilize their strength. The real tricky part of this make-over is management's ability to actually identify a talented college OT that can play right away. Finally, bring in a f/a to upgrade the center position. I don't see this as a top 10 unit but with good coaching I think we could be a middle of the pack O-Line. That would be a start and give us time to add additional needed players.


LT- Saffold - below average, rarely healthy
LG- GRob - zero confidence he will be any better than below average at any position
C- free agent - what free agent? I have my doubts a beter than average free agent Center will even hit the market
RG- Havenstein - zero confidence he will be any better than below average at any position
RT- 2nd RD pick - it is possible, but don't the Rams need to find a legit WR with this pick? Let me guess, we are signing Gordon and Alshon Jeffries in free agency?

Everyone loves to think you can rebuild an offensive line with mid round picks, a free agent and improved play from the scrubs on the team, combined with better coaching. Good luck.



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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Wildflecken » 10 Jan 2017, 06:52

1) In order to have a top oline in the NFL you must have a stellar, top 5 of league, LOT. See Raiders oline performance against Houston in Wildcard with Penn out.

2.) Was all of the Rams issue's offensively this season solely on the backs of the offensive line, no. I will use the Raiders performance again as an example here in their wildcard game with Houston. When an offense is required to dumb down an offense for a rookie qb, it simplifies the game for the opposing defense and allows them to control tempo. Defenses will be much more aggressive and take risks in the back 7, knowing the qb will not be able to exploit the open spots of the field they have left in favorable matchups for the opposing offense. At game speed on television more often than not it will appear the result of the play was the fault of the offensive line. However there are many scenarios in which it may not of been the play of the offensive line that resulted in a bad play. While the reasons for the unsuccessful play can be numerous it boils down often to a couple factors, poor communication and poor execution by the offense.

3.) I thought the Boras/Groh marriage had a chance for success this past season until I saw they abandoned the power schemes this team was known for under Fisher. I fully expected they would build off the success Gurley had in 2015 and add a vertical component to make it even more suceesful. Boy was I wrong. Don't know who was responsible but it falls on Boras as he was the OC. While the impact by Groh was seen on the wide receiver positional group (he is a solid wide receiver coach) you also saw he was not yet ready to coordinate a passing attack. I credit Groh for the season Britt had. You also see the rest of the receiving corp was either too young (Cooper, Higbee) or not talented enough to execute his design. Quick was lost and missed many, many assignments and reads. TA simply is not a wide receiver. If the Rams do not know this by now they are kidding themselves. He is a gadget player who could do some real damage as an addition to a solid offense that can move the chains and put up points when he is not part of the package. An advantage player to a top notch coordinator when the opposing defense adjusts and is being successful shutting down your offense. The scheme was a horrific fit regarding the talent in place. I don't know if the passing attack required the change to the zone, run stretch approach in the running game but it was a huge mistake. One, our coaching staff did not know how to coach it and the talent along the oline is a very poor fit for this scheme. You seen the changes Denver made regarding their offensive line talent when Kubiak replaced Fox and Gase.

4.) It is imperative the Rams get this coaching staff settled in time for the scouts and offensive staff to work in cohesion finding players whose strengths match what they will be required to do on game day. That never occurred under the last regime. And it all starts at LOT. You will not have a top 5 oline without a top five LOT. I repeat Rams MUST find a quality LOT! Go Rams!!



toast49
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby toast49 » 10 Jan 2017, 07:37

I think the team has a solid core to begin assembling a good stable starting unit.
Saffold should be released. Can't stay on the field. Has proven this again and again.
Barnes is not an NFL caliber player and the Rams should move on from his. Gets rag dolled far too often.
I think the starting center is on the team now in Wichman. Would give the team their most physical center in quite some time. Strong anchor in the middle.
My starting line as of now would be
Left tackle- To be determined
Left guard- G Rob. I know I know, but, he played pretty well there his rookie year.
Center- Wichman
Right guard- Havenstein
Right Tackle- Brown



crazy-legs
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby crazy-legs » 10 Jan 2017, 08:05

We must do 3 things to address the line next year...

#1. Trade or bench Robinson. Those who think he can play guard are dreaming IMO. He sucked at guard before being moved to LT. He isn't any good and the longer we keep him on the field the longer our O will suffer...

#2. We have to draft a Center. Many of us have been calling on this organization to draft a Center for over 10 years. How they can't see the need is freaking beyond me...

#3. Find a LT whether via FA or the draft. We have to have a reliable player guarding our QB's backside...

Saffold is a fine guard and Hav isn't great but he's not a liability at RT. That leaves 1 guard slot and I find it hard to believe a new coach can't get one of the players already on the roster up to par...

It's not rocket science. It's only finding 2 players, benching 1 and coaching someone up...


Judge our new coach in his third year. After all our last coach was to game strategy what Yoko Ono was to the Beatles...

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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Kindablue » 10 Jan 2017, 08:30

toast49 wrote:Saffold should be released. Can't stay on the field. Has proven this again and again.

2010 - 16
2011 - 9
2012 - 10
2013 - 12
2014 - 16
2015 - 5
2016 - 15

Not that bad.
You don't throw away a seasoned vet that can play 4 positions on the line and do it well.
He's signed until 2019. Worth every penny.



crazy-legs
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby crazy-legs » 10 Jan 2017, 08:41

Kindablue wrote:
toast49 wrote:Saffold should be released. Can't stay on the field. Has proven this again and again.

2010 - 16
2011 - 9
2012 - 10
2013 - 12
2014 - 16
2015 - 5
2016 - 15

Not that bad.
You don't throw away a seasoned vet that can play 4 positions on the line and do it well.
He's signed until 2019. Worth every penny.


It's all about keeping him inside. I knew when they moved him to LT he wouldn't finish the game. I think everyone but Fisher knew that. IMO he needs to stop being a swing player. I wouldn't never play him at Tackle...


Judge our new coach in his third year. After all our last coach was to game strategy what Yoko Ono was to the Beatles...

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Dick84
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Dick84 » 10 Jan 2017, 09:19

There are multiple needs on this team... I think the Oline is the single most important to address *this* offseason.
You've got to bring in a *competent* LT..
Saffold's going to be a guard (he missed one game this season and was decent).
FA Centers are not good options. You've got to find one.. either by drafting, or identifying a player you think can be moved to the position internally or in FA. I actually think Donnal, not Wichmann, is the one I'd look at.
I think the other guard will be whoever wins between Wichmann, Brown, GRob and a mid-round draft pick.
Havenstein is your RT. He struggled this year, but I don't know how much that was related to the foot.
I think I see them drafting one Tackle fairly high.. and a mid-round guard. Center is also a very real possibility.


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Wildflecken
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Wildflecken » 10 Jan 2017, 10:49

Dick84 wrote:There are multiple needs on this team... I think the Oline is the single most important to address *this* offseason.
You've got to bring in a *competent* LT..
Saffold's going to be a guard (he missed one game this season and was decent).
FA Centers are not good options. You've got to find one.. either by drafting, or identifying a player you think can be moved to the position internally or in FA. I actually think Donnal, not Wichmann, is the one I'd look at.
I think the other guard will be whoever wins between Wichmann, Brown, GRob and a mid-round draft pick.
Havenstein is your RT. He struggled this year, but I don't know how much that was related to the foot.
I think I see them drafting one Tackle fairly high.. and a mid-round guard. Center is also a very real possibility.


I like Donnal and think he has a future with Rams or in the NFL. Personally I like most of the Kirk Ferentz products he has put in this league. But Donnal is 6 foot 7 inches. He may be able to transition to center but certainly tall for sitting down to counter the bull rush at this level. Certainly has the agility to get to the second level. Barnes has come a long way technique wise but still a little slow with his lateral movement. Struggles with the quicker DT's and always struggles when Rams play a 3-4 look with the linebackers shooting the A gap's. Of course our OG play on the right has been horrific as well and since most of Barnes's issues seem to stem from the right A gap, one would need to know whose specific responsibility this falls to and consider which side the inline TE has aligned? Barnes was much quicker to second level in 2015 than last season. It seemed the move had a toll on the entire roster and it showed in second half.

Not saying Rams do not need to upgrade the Center position, they do. But the zone, run stretch the implemented last season? If they go that direction under new staff they may need to find 5 new olineman, not why the current olineman were drafted or signed. The scheme is why I chuckled at those wanting to move Grob to OG this season. Now if they bring in Mike Tice to coach the oline and want to bulk Grob back up and put him in a Gabe Jackson role, maybe. BTW, Jackson was another OG I was very high on in draft. Really hard to determine what Snead is looking at when he drafts Olineman. Look at the class he took Hav, Brown, Donnal etc.. Snead stated he put a high value on snaps? Was that because he knew then Grob was a mistake?



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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Rameosian » 10 Jan 2017, 11:01

Massimo wrote:
Rameosian wrote:There's many holes to be fixed on the Rams roster, but if they can stabilize the OL next year I think we can avoid being labeled as a 'rebuild.' A monumental task but it would help Gurley resume his career and accelerate Goffs development. Here's my take on making this happen:

LT- Saffold
LG- GRob
C- free agent
RG- Havenstein
RT- 2nd RD pick

Both Havenstein and GRob are supposed bruisers but don't appear nimble enough to hold off the quick edge pass rushers. So plug them in the middle where they can utilize their strength. The real tricky part of this make-over is management's ability to actually identify a talented college OT that can play right away. Finally, bring in a f/a to upgrade the center position. I don't see this as a top 10 unit but with good coaching I think we could be a middle of the pack O-Line. That would be a start and give us time to add additional needed players.


Then we'll use our (5) 1st round picks this years..... I was referring to what is possible this year. We have to be realistic. Rebuilding the entire line won't happen in one year. It took Dallas 5 years to get it to where it is today.

LT- Saffold - below average, rarely healthy
LG- GRob - zero confidence he will be any better than below average at any position
C- free agent - what free agent? I have my doubts a beter than average free agent Center will even hit the market
RG- Havenstein - zero confidence he will be any better than below average at any position
RT- 2nd RD pick - it is possible, but don't the Rams need to find a legit WR with this pick? Let me guess, we are signing Gordon and Alshon Jeffries in free agency?

Everyone loves to think you can rebuild an offensive line with mid round picks, a free agent and improved play from the scrubs on the team, combined with better coaching. Good luck.



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Dick84
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Dick84 » 10 Jan 2017, 11:07

Wildflecken wrote:
Dick84 wrote:There are multiple needs on this team... I think the Oline is the single most important to address *this* offseason.
You've got to bring in a *competent* LT..
Saffold's going to be a guard (he missed one game this season and was decent).
FA Centers are not good options. You've got to find one.. either by drafting, or identifying a player you think can be moved to the position internally or in FA. I actually think Donnal, not Wichmann, is the one I'd look at.
I think the other guard will be whoever wins between Wichmann, Brown, GRob and a mid-round draft pick.
Havenstein is your RT. He struggled this year, but I don't know how much that was related to the foot.
I think I see them drafting one Tackle fairly high.. and a mid-round guard. Center is also a very real possibility.


I like Donnal and think he has a future with Rams or in the NFL. Personally I like most of the Kirk Ferentz products he has put in this league. But Donnal is 6 foot 7 inches. He may be able to transition to center but certainly tall for sitting down to counter the bull rush at this level. Certainly has the agility to get to the second level. Barnes has come a long way technique wise but still a little slow with his lateral movement. Struggles with the quicker DT's and always struggles when Rams play a 3-4 look with the linebackers shooting the A gap's. Of course our OG play on the right has been horrific as well and since most of Barnes's issues seem to stem from the right A gap, one would need to know whose specific responsibility this falls to and consider which side the inline TE has aligned? Barnes was much quicker to second level in 2015 than last season. It seemed the move had a toll on the entire roster and it showed in second half.

Not saying Rams do not need to upgrade the Center position, they do. But the zone, run stretch the implemented last season? If they go that direction under new staff they may need to find 5 new olineman, not why the current olineman were drafted or signed. The scheme is why I chuckled at those wanting to move Grob to OG this season. Now if they bring in Mike Tice to coach the oline and want to bulk Grob back up and put him in a Gabe Jackson role, maybe. BTW, Jackson was another OG I was very high on in draft. Really hard to determine what Snead is looking at when he drafts Olineman. Look at the class he took Hav, Brown, Donnal etc.. Snead stated he put a high value on snaps? Was that because he knew then Grob was a mistake?


Lotta good points... I know Donnal isn't typical.. seems smart and competitive and gets low. Just thinking he's an option.
Agree on your other overall takes on this O.. Barnes will be less of an issue when they have solid guard and tackle play.. and, yep.. they need to figure out what type of line they want to be. GRob in a zone? That's like a fungo talking to a martian.


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Dick84
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Dick84 » 10 Jan 2017, 11:08

btw...

A SECOND ROUND PICK ISN'T A "MID ROUND" FUCKING PICK!!!


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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby RamFanDave » 10 Jan 2017, 11:32

Pick 5 round 2 is a spot we can get some of the most talented draft choices at. If we keep pick 5 in rd 3 that's another potentially strong player. Of course we would need someone who can evaluate talent and most importantly someone who knows what type of player they need for their system. The oline picks in the draft two years ago were completely wrong for the scheme we played this year. Huge mistake changing philosophy when all of our oline was for power scheme. Gurley will have much more success if we return to the power blocking scheme but Goff is probably more successful in a spread formation. Gotta get a creative offensive mind in here to figure this out



Wildflecken
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Wildflecken » 10 Jan 2017, 11:39

Dick84 wrote:
Wildflecken wrote:
Dick84 wrote:There are multiple needs on this team... I think the Oline is the single most important to address *this* offseason.
You've got to bring in a *competent* LT..
Saffold's going to be a guard (he missed one game this season and was decent).
FA Centers are not good options. You've got to find one.. either by drafting, or identifying a player you think can be moved to the position internally or in FA. I actually think Donnal, not Wichmann, is the one I'd look at.
I think the other guard will be whoever wins between Wichmann, Brown, GRob and a mid-round draft pick.
Havenstein is your RT. He struggled this year, but I don't know how much that was related to the foot.
I think I see them drafting one Tackle fairly high.. and a mid-round guard. Center is also a very real possibility.


I like Donnal and think he has a future with Rams or in the NFL. Personally I like most of the Kirk Ferentz products he has put in this league. But Donnal is 6 foot 7 inches. He may be able to transition to center but certainly tall for sitting down to counter the bull rush at this level. Certainly has the agility to get to the second level. Barnes has come a long way technique wise but still a little slow with his lateral movement. Struggles with the quicker DT's and always struggles when Rams play a 3-4 look with the linebackers shooting the A gap's. Of course our OG play on the right has been horrific as well and since most of Barnes's issues seem to stem from the right A gap, one would need to know whose specific responsibility this falls to and consider which side the inline TE has aligned? Barnes was much quicker to second level in 2015 than last season. It seemed the move had a toll on the entire roster and it showed in second half.

Not saying Rams do not need to upgrade the Center position, they do. But the zone, run stretch the implemented last season? If they go that direction under new staff they may need to find 5 new olineman, not why the current olineman were drafted or signed. The scheme is why I chuckled at those wanting to move Grob to OG this season. Now if they bring in Mike Tice to coach the oline and want to bulk Grob back up and put him in a Gabe Jackson role, maybe. BTW, Jackson was another OG I was very high on in draft. Really hard to determine what Snead is looking at when he drafts Olineman. Look at the class he took Hav, Brown, Donnal etc.. Snead stated he put a high value on snaps? Was that because he knew then Grob was a mistake?


Lotta good points... I know Donnal isn't typical.. seems smart and competitive and gets low. Just thinking he's an option.
Agree on your other overall takes on this O.. Barnes will be less of an issue when they have solid guard and tackle play.. and, yep.. they need to figure out what type of line they want to be. GRob in a zone? That's like a fungo talking to a martian.


I have to wonder if Donnal is not the best option currently on roster for the LOT position? He did much better than Grob when forced into action there. Wonder what he can do with a whole offseason working there. With a good oline coach who instructs the proper angles, he may be able to handle the speed rushers? Lot a good coaching staff can do to assist him when the individual matchup is not too favorable. Of course it requires a qb able to decipher the read pre snap? Can they get Goff there next season?

Wanted to add an edit, Kudos on the fungo quote



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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Kindablue » 11 Jan 2017, 08:12

Wildflecken wrote:I have to wonder if Donnal is not the best option currently on roster for the LOT position? He did much better than Grob when forced into action there. Wonder what he can do with a whole offseason working there. With a good oline coach who instructs the proper angles, he may be able to handle the speed rushers? Lot a good coaching staff can do to assist him when the individual matchup is not too favorable. Of course it requires a qb able to decipher the read pre snap? Can they get Goff there next season?


Good call.
Very coachable is the word on him.
Has the quickness, height, length, and hand size.
He might actually benefit from a camp like the one GRob went to.



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Dick84
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Re: Rams' biggest stumbling block? Their offensive line

Postby Dick84 » 11 Jan 2017, 11:11

Wildflecken wrote:

I have to wonder if Donnal is not the best option currently on roster for the LOT position? He did much better than Grob when forced into action there. Wonder what he can do with a whole offseason working there. With a good oline coach who instructs the proper angles, he may be able to handle the speed rushers? Lot a good coaching staff can do to assist him when the individual matchup is not too favorable. Of course it requires a qb able to decipher the read pre snap? Can they get Goff there next season?

Wanted to add an edit, Kudos on the fungo quote


It's interesting on Donnal... Physically.. he's not far off Jake Matthews. He actually had the highest Vert of linemen in his draft at the combine and was high in the 3 cone drill. I would think the only way he gets a look there is if they're going for a Zone scheme.


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