Third Down Critical to Improving Suspect St. Louis Rams Pass Defense

By Anthony Blake
Jeff Fisher St. Louis Rams
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The trend of passing around the NFL looks similar to a chart for inflation around the United States these days. It’s undeniable that both are on the rise, and the only thing left to debate is just how anybody can slow them down.

There’s no doubt the St. Louis Rams are a part of this issue as they have been thoroughly abused by their opponents through the air thus far in 2013. You might want to prepare yourself before looking at these numbers, but here they are.

It may be just a small sample size, but the Rams rank 27th in the league in pass defense, surrendering 330.5 yards per game. Oh don’t worry, it only gets worse. The Rams are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete a staggering 71.1 percent of their throws, which ranks 29th in the NFL. As for the ever unreliable quarterback rating statistics, well opposing quarterbacks have had a field day against St. Louis thus far with a 107.6 QB rating (fifth worst in the league) and a total QBR of 79.2 (second worst in all of the NFL).

So now that you are completely bummed out about the level of ineptitude the Rams have displayed on defense, how about we realize that St. Louis travels to JerryWorld to face the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo this Sunday. I know it seems like a scene out of a horror movie, but it’s real life. Head coach Jeff Fisher is still searching for answers as his team prepares for this weekend’s contest as he said:

“I think everybody in the league is trying to get better at pass defense. That’s just a part of this game, the ball is going down the field, you have got to make a play so we’re working technique, we’re working fundamentals, we’re working communication, we’re working scheme, we’re doing everything.”

What has really been a problem for the St. Louis defense so far is getting off of the field on third down. The backbreaking 81-yard touchdown they surrendered to Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons came on a third down last week. It is imperative that this team finds a way to get off of the field on third down to prevent their defense from getting worn down and exploited. Linebacker James Laurinaitis stressed this point to ESPN as he said:

“I look at third-down efficiency and turnover margin. Are you getting off the field on third down when you’ve got a chance to, which we didn’t when we had a chance to in Atlanta and are we causing turnovers, which we didn’t. We’ve got to find a way, some way to get them.”

While the turnovers are more of a luck of the draw type of statistic, getting off of the field on third down is an easily controllable number. These Rams must get off the field on defense whenever the opportunity presents itself or they are going to find themselves on the wrong end of the passing statistics on a routine basis this season.

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Copy Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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