The Rams seems so as to add a superstar to the injury list each week, this week it’s Aaron Donald, and have lost a record five in a row with Sean McVay as head coach. As they fight to search out healthy bodies to placed on the playing field, the Chargers have gotten some back and are well close by of a playoff spot. With six weeks to go, Los Angeles Times NFL author Sam Farmer, Rams beat author Gary Klein and Chargers beat author Jeff Miller address fans’ concerns and questions:
When will the Rams try and sign a legitimate backup QB ?
Jon Van Ness, Los Angeles
Klein: They re-signed John Wolford before this season because Sean McVay was confident he could run the offense if needed. Wolford shall be a restricted free agent and Bryce Perkins shall be an exclusive rights free agent. The Rams under coach Sean McVay have never budgeted to spend lots of money on a backup. Even when Blake Bortles was with the team, that was only because he was owed a lot money by Jacksonville and he and the Rams could afford to chop a deal. With Matthew Stafford at age 34, it would be interesting to see if McVay and Les Snead make finding a more experienced — and expensive — backup a priority.
I wrote after the Chargers vs. Browns game that Staley going for the primary down on the Browns’ 46 with time running out was a head scratcher. You replied that statistics prove him to be right. I used to be on the Chargers vs. Chiefs game when Staley selected to punt in a 4th-and-inches situation. Everyone knows who the quarterback is for the Chiefs. What gives? His motion and your answer quite frankly seem disingenuous.
David Sanchez, Canoga Park
Miller: Up within the pressbox, a few us were surprised by Brandon Staley’s decision versus K.C. That went against his usual pattern. Last season, I’m certain he would have gone for it. The analytics almost at all times point to going for it on fourth-and-one — or fourth-and-less-than-one — since the success rate historically is so good. I feel he has been more conservative in these situations this season partly because he has been burned possibly once too often. The performance of punter JK Scott also has little doubt entered the equation. Scott has had a serious impact on this 2022 team. Mostly, though, I feel it’s a mirrored image of how much the Chargers have struggled running the ball. Hard to trust this current version of offensive line, truthfully. But, yes, you’re right, that was a departure from last yr and earlier this yr.
I’ve been a Rams fan since 1965 (5 years old) and I can’t recall so a lot of our offensive linemen taking place with so many leg injuries in lower than half a season. Is their blocking technique/scheme the cause for this reoccurring horror story? Back within the day, you had to tug guys like Charlie Cowan, Tom Mack and Joe Schibeli off the sector in the event that they got dinged up.
Lorenzo Fuentes, Santa Maria
Klein: The Rams’ blocking scheme/technique is not any different than it was last season after they won the Super Bowl. They only hit some bad luck. And players who are suffering season-ending knee and ankle injuries or concussion usually are not just “dinged up.” Most players, no matter era, need to be on the sector for his or her teammates and for his or her livelihoods. With few exceptions, there aren’t any guaranteed contracts within the NFL.
It looks like in kicking situations the receiving team is simply too often called for penalties like holding, blocking within the back, etc. Why is that? What do coaches teach and what do players do to attempt to avoid these penalties?
Bill Francis, Pasadena
Farmer: Let’s discuss what makes blocks on special teams particularly difficult. It comes all the way down to time and distance. It’s type of like catching a speeding bullet when a blocker has to drop about 30 yards after which transition to blocking a player running right at them with a full head of steam. So it’s not unusual for guys to miss those blocks, then to commit a clip while attempting to get a man while he whizzes past. It’s also easy for those blockers to get their hands outside the frame and onto the highest of shoulder pads, which attracts holding calls.
Now let’s have a look at it from a more global sense. Those players on special teams produce other responsibilities during practice, in order that they’re only working on blocking during a really limited special-teams segment of practice. After they’re playing defense, they’re allowed to do more grabbing and holding. It’s hard for them to flip that mindset to play as clean as possible on special teams.
The ultimate element is the trail of a returner. It’s not like a prescribed pass route. A returner may very well be going anywhere — type of like a scrambling quarterback — so his blockers aren’t at all times in the best position to clear a path. That may result in holding penalties, clips and the like. If an NFL team were to devote more time to coaching special teams, then it might need to spend less time on one other element of the sport. So it’s a difficult balancing act.
When is Brandon Staley going to be held accountable concerning the porous defense? I even have never seen a team miss so many tackles. Alohi Gilman had a blatant missed tackle leading to a touchdown. Poor tackling has been a mantra of the Bolts for 10 years or so. It’s probably the most basic task, but yet this team sucks at tackling, and likewise aggressiveness. The Raiders at all times play the Chargers physical, and next week I expect them to push the Chargers everywhere in the field.
Harvey Smith, Dayton, Nev.
Miller: Trust me, Staley is asked about his defense every week. About its inability to stop the run, hold opponents on third down, prevent explosive plays. I’m pretty certain poor tackling isn’t a “mantra” around this team. But I do know what you mean. Poor tackling was a serious issue Sunday against Arizona and Staley acknowledged it on Monday. I don’t think the Chargers are doing anything or not doing anything that’s resulting in poor tackling. I feel it’s just players failing to execute at a high enough level.