Making in-game adjustments is a critical part of being a coach in an NFL environment. The St. Louis Rams haven’t exactly shown a great run defense to date giving up a generous 116.1 yards per game on average heading into Week 9, but their effort against the Tennessee Titans was arguably their worst of the season.
Even though DeMarco Murray ran roughshod over St. Louis way back in Week 3, this showing by the Titans proved even more demoralizing. All of Tennessee’s points came via the ground game with Chris Johnson leading the charge doing his best Barry Sanders impression with several rushes for little to no gain and a handful of 20-plus yard scampers to break the game open. Quarterback Jake Locker was effective in small doses as well while power back Shonn Greene also gouged the Rams’ defense right up the middle.
Each of those rushers found the end zone with Johnson actually making two trips over the goal line on the afternoon, but that wasn’t even the worst part of the day for the St. Louis coaching staff. The Rams have struggled to force turnovers all season and actually got two critical interceptions that likely took points off of the board for the Titans on Sunday. Despite this unexpected shot in the arm, issues with discipline (six penalties for 44 yards) and plain old assignment football caused this team to end up on the short end of the scoreboard yet again.
Jeff Fisher has sometimes been questioned with the way he coaches his team to play on the edge of legality in the eyes of the officials. Those penalties and that true lack of discipline really hurt the Rams on Sunday with three big infractions on opening drive paving the way for a Tennessee touchdown and gaping holes in the run defense along with poor tackling plaguing the team all afternoon. Fisher is known as a defensive coach, and this team looks anything but well coached in that area at the moment.
Along with these mental errors there was the obvious lack of mental fortitude shown with allowing the Titans to convert on 7-of-12 third downs during the game. This has been another problem that continues to rear its ugly head yet remains unaddressed by the coaching staff. Until adjustments are made everyone needs to be put on notice that this type of effort will not be tolerated.
It’s time for the Rams to seriously reevaluate everything from their basic philosophies to the personnel and especially the coaching staff on the defensive side of the football. These recurring issues have been enough to make fans ill this year, and the last thing the organization needs is a young team breeding a lack of discipline in the locker room.