St. Louis Rams offense looking to get better

The St. Louis Rams have one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL but rank near the bottom of the league in passing yardage and total yardage.

The Todd Gurley phenomenon has helped rejuvenate the St. Louis Rams rushing attack, which now ranks as one of the best in the NFL. But the rest of the offense? It’s still stuck in neutral. 

While the Rams (4-4) rank fourth in the league in rushing yardage (135. yards per game), they rank 31st in total yardage (312.6) and 32nd in passing yardage (177.1). 

“Yeah, we’re not satisfied,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday, when asked if he expected the offense to be further along at the midway point of the season. “But, we just need a couple breakout games, and then we’ll get caught up. Not satisfied with the first down production and the third down efficiency and the points scored, but we’ll get caught up.”

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First-year offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti is hopeful that the Rams offense would play better going forward.

“We’re very optimistic,” Cignetti said. “We’ve got a great group of coaches. We’ve got a great group of players. We’re at the midway point. Our expectation is to move forward and play better.”

That will have to start with the quarterback. 

Nick Foles' debut season in St. Louis has been marked by its ups (wins over the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals) and its downs (his four-interception game vs. the Green Bay Packers) and average or less production in the other five games. 

The former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback ranks 30th in the NFL in passing yardage (1,478), 27th in completion percentage (58.2), 26th in yards/attempt (6.72), 28th in touchdowns (seven) and 27th in quarterback rating (79.7). 

Cignetti, who speaks to the local media every Wednesday, said he thought Foles was doing a “nice job” and said you could see “growth” and “progress” every time they take the practice field.

He was then asked what he thinks Foles can do better.

“Well, it’s just not Nick, but any quarterback that plays the position,” Cignetti said. “You’d always like to have a few plays back. You’d always like to have a few decisions back. It’s natural. Goes with every quarterback in the league.” 

Foles said he’s not happy with where he or the Rams offense is at right now. 

“No. I think we always want to improve,” he said. “We have a long ways to go. We have to keep improving. Me as a player, that’s why we work every day. We work to improve. I’m nowhere near where I want to be and probably never will be. That’s how I’ve been throughout my career. I’ve always wanted to get better and better. 

“Us as an offense, we come out here every day wanting to improve. We’ve got a lot of young guys right now that are working every day. We’re improving. A lot of new personalities, so we’re just continuing to bond. We have a great team here that plays well together. I’m excited about where we’re heading.”

The Rams have eight games remaining, starting Sunday when the Chicago Bears (3-5) come to the Edward Jones Dome, and only two of their final eight opponents have a winning record at this point. 

It looks like the opportunity is there to take advantage of a favorable schedule, but St. Louis will need to get going offensively.

One primary area of concern for the Rams is their third-down conversion rate, which is just 23.8. For comparison, Rams’ opponents are converting 32.7 percent of third downs — against one of the best defenses in the league. 

The Rams are aware of the numbers. They know the defense is doing its part — St. Louis has allowed just 18.2 points per game, which ranks sixth — and the running game has gotten going. They know they need to better all-around offensively and, specifically, in the passing game. 

Like Fisher, Foles was also asked if he thought there would be more progress with the offense at this point in the season. 

“Hey, we are where we’re at,” Foles said. “I’m not going to say one thing or another. I know the guys are working hard to improve. We’re a young group that’s working to improve each and every day. I know that everybody is going to look at a stat sheet and look at different things, but football is not an easy sport. We love the game. We’re fortunate to play it. 

“But, we’re going to work every day to get this thing rolling and get this better. We have the coaches to do that. We just have to keep going through this process and keep working, keep fine tuning what we’re doing and eventually it’ll all click together and we’ll be ready to roll.”

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com


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