Given all of the new weapons surrounding quarterback Sam Bradford with the St. Louis Rams on offense this season, one would presume this offense had added some serious tricks to its arsenal in 2013. While they have been much more explosive and possess the ability to make opponents uncomfortable on the regular, for some reason offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has chosen not to do so. After seeing just how well the Rams performed in their comeback mode of hurry-up offense against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2, should the team consider taking a page out of Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles’ playbook and running an up-tempo attack full-time?
After trailing 24-3 at one point, the Rams scratched and clawed their way back to within a touchdown twice which is actually where the score finished at 31-24. The main difference in this turnaround was the team’s decision to go with a no-huddle hurry-up attack beginning near the end of the third quarter. Bradford directed the troops masterfully as the Rams put up 11 first downs with 142 total yards and most importantly 14 points in the fourth quarter from the shotgun formation at a frenetic pace.
They waited until late in the game to dictate the tempo of the game to their opponents, but wide receiver Chris Givens says it wasn’t for a lack of confidence. He said:
“Offensively we feel like we can dictate every game. We just had a lot of mistakes in the first half and we had to go no-huddle in the second half to catch up.”
Not to give Chip Kelly and Philly any more publicity – as if they need it – but the Rams could really benefit from going up-tempo from the start. There defense has shown to be a bit of a weak spot already this season, and giving the offense more chances to score seems like a winning formula to mask this deficiency. Heck, it might even help the anemic running game which again sputtered with a combined 13 carries from traditional running sets by backs for a total of 36 yards – just over 2.5 yards per tote.
The offense seems to be begging for the chance to operate in a non-traditional setup, yet head coach Jeff Fisher and OC Schottenheimer keep trying to stuff a square peg into a round hole. Bradford certainly sees the appeal of the no-huddle having run it with success during his collegiate days at Oklahoma. Of his Rams, he said:
“I think our guys are extremely comfortable with it. Like I said, I thought today it put them on their heels, especially once you get that first first down and get the drive rolling.”
It seems like fighting an uphill battle to force this revamped offense into a box and make them operate as if they are a traditional group. This Rams team has the elements to be extremely explosive with the aforementioned Givens, Tavon Austin, and tight end Jared Cook just begging to get the ball in space.
Come on, Rams. Let your hair down. It’s time to run an up-tempo attack on a more regular basis a la Jim Kelly and the old school Buffalo Bills. The ingredients are all present so stop fighting it.