Red zone work a point of emphasis for Rams’ offense
Thursday, September 22, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Sam Bradford had a very good day in Week 2, except for the scoreboard.
The St. Louis Rams' inability to finish drives is one of the biggest reasons they're 0-2 for the fifth straight season.
They've scored only two touchdowns the first two games and were thwarted three times inside the 10 in their Monday night loss to the New York Giants, leading to a larger chunk of practice Wednesday devoted to red zone offense.
"The more we can do down there, the better," Bradford said. "That's the one area you don't usually get a lot of work in during the week. So anytime we can steal a couple reps, I think it's going to help us on Sunday."
Bradford, who passed for a career-best 331 yards against the Giants, said it's a matter of execution. He includes himself in the blame, mentioning some off-target throws that could have resulted in touchdowns.
The lone touchdown came on a 19-yard pass to Danario Alexander in the third quarter, the last score in a 28-16 defeat.
"I've got to be better," Bradford said. "You get down there, it's just too important. When you get down to the 1, I don't care what they line up in, we should be able to score."
He's not the only one frustrated.
"It's extremely disappointing," center Jason Brown said. "I cannot tell you how upsetting and frustrating that is, and we're doing everything we can to make sure our preparation is perfect so we will not be denied."
Wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker said little mistakes dragged down the offense.
"We easily could have walked into the end zone three times," Sims-Walker said. "It's something that's very correctable."
The Rams were particularly effective early in the no-huddle offense, gaining 89 yards on nine plays in their opening possession and 67 yards on 10 plays in the second possession, although both times they settled for short field goals by Josh Brown.
They used it some in the second half.
Bradford didn't think it would work to stay in it the whole game. For one thing, a three-and-out would give the defense no rest, and for another, teams usually adjust to such tactics.
"Would I have liked to have us stay with it? Maybe a little bit," Bradford said. "I think we got all we could out of it."
The Rams believed the Giants' Deon Grant faked an injury to slow them down on their second possession, and Bradford said a second Giants player also fell down and then quickly got up after seeing Grant.
The NFL sent a memo Wednesday to all 32 teams warning of fines, suspensions and loss of draft picks if the league determines players faked injuries during a game.
"If the offense is in a no-huddle and it's fairly evident that the defense goes down just to slow the offense down, I think there's got to be some sort of penalty," Bradford said. "That's the frustrating thing to me."
Brown said Rams players were "talking a lot of trash" at Grant and said the rest of the Giants' defenders were all grinning.
"The fans in the stands were all clapping, saying 'Oh, he got up. He's not really hurt,'" Brown said. "And we're like 'We knew he wasn't hurt. I'm not clapping for him.'"
Brown noted that tactic or not, the Giants had time to regroup, adding "their tongues were hanging out."
"He just fell down, like a sniper shot him in the leg," Brown said. "He knows. After he got up I chewed him out, and he just looked at me and smiled."
Running back Steven Jackson did not practice, casting doubt on his availability for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Backup Cadillac Williams also did not practice with a hamstring injury, although coach Steve Spagnuolo said Williams could practice Thursday.
Jackson missed the Giants game with a strained right quadriceps and Spagnuolo said a determination would be made at the end of the week.
"It's one of those things that you push it now and you set him back, that wouldn't be real smart," Spagnuolo said.
The Rams practiced in late afternoon, giving players a little more time to recover from the Monday night game, and giving coaches time to assemble a game plan. The team's return flight arrived about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.