After a decade of ineptitude, Rams' offense still struggling
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Offensive coordinator Rob Boras has repeatedly said he won't point fingers at anyone responsible for the Los Angeles Rams' profound struggles to move the ball.
Boras doesn't have enough fingers for that, anyway.
The league's lowest-scoring offense has turned in three straight terrible performances during Los Angeles' (4-8) three-game skid. The Rams are back to last in the NFL in total offense - the same place they finished last season - with just 284.0 yards per game heading into Sunday's visit from Atlanta (7-5), which has the NFL's highest-scoring offense.
''Everything has got to improve,'' Boras said Wednesday. ''It's easy to point a finger, and none of us are about that. We all need to coach better. We all need to play better, and prepare better.''
Before Boras began his first full season as the Rams' coordinator, he stressed the importance of immediate improvement. After all, he persevered through 24 years in coaching to become an NFL play-caller last December, and he realized the opportunity might never come again.
But Boras has been unable to interrupt a decade of ineptitude for the Rams. The franchise that once boasted the ''Greatest Show on Turf'' seems certain to finish among the NFL's 10 worst offenses for the jaw-dropping 10th consecutive season, including five straight under coach Jeff Fisher.
During their final nine years in St. Louis, the Rams never finished higher than 23rd in the league in offense. They haven't averaged more than 330 yards per game - which would make them only 24th in the current league standings - since 2006, when Marc Bulger, Torry Holt and Steven Jackson were all selected to the Pro Bowl.
A move to Hollywood did nothing to make this team more entertaining, and Fisher's staff could be down to its last few chances to fix things. While Boras says he has made innumerable adjustments to nearly every aspect of the Rams' schemes, the results aren't showing up.
''I know I keep repeating myself, (but) this is a resilient group,'' Boras said. ''The guys have stayed together. I think our defense has done an unbelievable job supporting the offensive guys and trying to keep them going in the right direction. As frustrating as it is, these guys keep coming back to work.''
Los Angeles managed just 162 yards last weekend against New England, 66 of that on a long pass to Kenny Britt inside the final two minutes of a blowout. The Rams had 247 yards the week before that in New Orleans, and they had 227 yards in their last home game against Miami three weeks ago.
Rookie quarterback Jared Goff has been decent in his first three NFL starts, but not game-changing. Todd Gurley has been unable to produce in the running game all season long. Los Angeles has a patchy offensive line and a plague of drops among its unimpressive receiving corps.
The Rams are last in the league in third-down percentage, converting just 32 percent of the time and repeatedly failing to extend drives. That's often because the running game can't even pick up enough yards on the first two snaps to give them third-and-short.
''The big thing for us is really getting our time of possession up,'' guard Rodger Saffold said. ''What does that mean? Converting third downs and keeping their defense on the field. It's a lot easier for Coach Boras to make calls if we've got more third-and-manageable situations.''
Boras replaced Frank Cignetti as the Rams' offensive coordinator and play-caller with four games left last season. St. Louis went 3-1, but still finished last in the NFL in total offense with 297.6 yards per game.
The Rams are even worse so far this season, but Boras will keep trying to extend his opportunity.
''The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results,'' Boras said. ''We're always (trying something new). It might not look like it. ... They're little things that the players would know that we're trying to do different. It's not carrying over to Sunday, but we are trying to change things.''
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