St. Louis Rams Must Upgrade Offensive Line During Offseason

By Anthony Blake
Sam Bradford and St. Louis Rams Offensive Line
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

It was a nice ride for the St. Louis Rams and now that the youngest team in the NFL is eliminated from playoff contention, their attention must shift toward improving the team for next season. One area that really needs to get better is the offense as a whole, which has been a dink and dunk attack all season long. If the Rams really want to get better, they must get more dynamic offensively and stretch the field.

Most believed that a few deep passes to new-found rookie deep threat Chris Givens every now and then would keep defenses honest, but the real problem is deeper than that. The Rams offensive line is a complete disaster with quarterback Sam Bradford throwing many three to five step drop pass plays out of necessity rather than strategy.

Aside from the one drive near the end of the first quarter that continued into the early part of the second, the Rams offense was inept until the Minnesota Vikings called off the dogs in the fourth quarter up by three-plus scores. The blitz ravaged Bradford and disrupted the timing of both he and his receivers to make plays work as planned.

Week 15 may have featured a season-high 377 passing yards for Bradford, but the majority of those were accumulated during garbage time once the Vikings backed off. 2012 is Bradford’s third year in St. Louis and given the beating that he has taken, it’s no surprise that he appears a bit gun-shy at times. That is why if this franchise has any hopes of salvaging its investment in Bradford, they must begin to build a solid offensive line in front of him this offseason.

Sure, injuries have been a problem in the trenches for the Rams this year, but in this past April’s draft, the team selected just one offensive lineman out of 10 total picks. That selection was guard Rokevious Watkins who has been out for the entire season with an ankle injury.

Still the problem runs deeper than that even as the Rams have taken just two offensive linemen in the past three drafts total since Bradford’s selection. Of those two picks, Watkins this year was a fifth rounder and Rodger Saffold in 2010 was a second round selection.

This franchise must invest heavily in the offensive front if they want Bradford to succeed over the course of the next few seasons. The window to build a franchise quarterback doesn’t stay open forever and time is running out for the team to get Bradford comfortable in the pocket. Until they start placing a serious emphasis on building a solid offensive line, the offense as a whole will remain relatively one-dimensional.

Follow Anthony Blake on Twitter @AnthonyMBlake or on Facebook at Anthony Mizarkus Blake

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