Matthew Stafford isn’t the Rams’ problem. What is?

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — When the Los Angeles Rams suffered their 2d immediately loss closing Sunday, head trainer Sean McVay absolved his quarterback.

“I think he’s doing everything he can,” McVay mentioned of Matthew Stafford after the Rams controlled simply 10 issues every week after generating handiest 9. “I think he needs more help.”

Stafford has finished 60-of-90 cross makes an attempt (67%) for 562 yards and a landing throughout the two losses. He’s additionally thrown one interception and misplaced 3 fumbles whilst soaking up 12 sacks and 33 pressures in the stretch. The consequence: The Rams scored only one landing throughout each video games.

“Guys,” McVay mentioned, “(have) got to play better around him.”

That begins with the Rams’ offensive line, whose factor is obvious. An harm streak has induced 9 gamers to begin alongside the line in 5 video games, Los Angeles biking via 3 proper guards and 3 facilities — the latter an integral a part of in-game conversation.

Players and coaches this week parroted that accidents are a part of the recreation. Excuses, McVay quipped, are for the “weak-minded.” So the Rams aren’t bearing in mind that turnover their drawback. Rather, they’re exploring the intricacies of what went fallacious amid the carousel of protectors.

“We’ve had more mental errors and busts that are just a little bit foreign to this offense,” coordinator Liam Coen mentioned Thursday earlier than follow. “I think right now it’s a little bit less about players than it is about the overall execution. … We’re focusing on, how do we just function at a high level?”

Put otherwise: A unmarried participant’s drops or accuracy and even block set isn’t plaguing an offense netting the fewest yards in step with play of the NFL and fourth-lowest issues in step with recreation (16). The Rams, 8 months got rid of from a Super Bowl name, are suffering to perform cohesively as a unit. Their conversation has been inadequate, makes an attempt to streamline messages amid the heart adjustments and silent counts falling quick.

Matthew Stafford's struggles have been quite visible the past couple games, but they're a product of an offensive ecosystem that sorely needs some fixes. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Matthew Stafford’s struggles were somewhat visual the previous couple video games, however they are a made of an offensive ecosystem that sorely wishes some fixes. (Photo through Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Members of the group perceive a few of that is par for the direction as younger gamers modify to surprising alternatives, and but: Stafford, their veteran quarterback, has been not able to carry the team with out time to throw or a run recreation to offset defensive assaults. Per PFF, defenses have generated 75 pressures on him in 5 video games — the fourth-most any passer has withstood this season — and no participant has been sacked greater than his 21 occasions. PFF analysts additionally trust McVay’s project of blame: 95.6% of pressures have been because of offensive line strikes, the maximum of any quarterback who has began all 5 video games. Stafford warrants accountability for the last 4.4%, the website says.

“We’ve got to be able to help him give himself a chance to sit on his back foot, just pass, even a hitch on some things,” McVay mentioned. “But I love Matthew Stafford. I’ll ride with that guy to the end of time. He’s continuing to do everything in his power to try to help our team move the football score points. And we got to be able to help him out more.”

Thursday, Coen challenged his working backs to upward push to that instance. The unit has controlled simply 62.4 dashing yards in step with recreation, worst in the league. Turnover at offensive line obviously demanding situations the consistency of run suits and timing as backs try to transparent lanes. So the place team’s venture in one phrase: “creativity.”

“It’s not always going to be clean, not always going to be a perfect, wide, gaping hole,” Coen mentioned. “Running backs are special because they’re creative, right? … Guys need to go be playmakers and be special with the ball in their hands.

“When we’re one-on-one and have space, we need to take advantage of that.”

Running again Darrell Henderson, whose 206 yards from scrimmage leads Rams backs, pointed to versatility together with as a pass-catcher as one approach to entire that venture. Henderson has netted 68 receiving yards atop his 138 yards and a landing through flooring — however the ones 68 emerged from 79 yards after the catch, in step with Pro Football Reference, which accounts for yardage gathered at the back of the line of scrimmage. Running backs, he understands, will have to create yards after touch.

How can he achieve this?

“Being able to find holes in the defense that maybe aren’t there, understanding where a run is supposed to hit and then seeing where it’s hitting based on how those blocks are playing out,” receiver Cooper Kupp, who has gathered 267 yards after the catch this season together with 71 on the Rams’ lone landing the closing two video games, instructed Yahoo Sports. “Creativity in terms of offensively, how are you going to get your angles back and set, how are you going to set up the offensive linemen to be successful? Creativity when it comes to an OC coming up with the best plays.”

Coen believes the Rams are in a position to each and every in the event that they sharpen their psychological recreation, a mirrored image of in-week preparation. He’s additionally analyzing the quantity of ideas, formations and situational performs to prioritize high quality of execution over amount in play variation.

“It’s not like we don’t play hard,” he mentioned. “We’re just not playing very smart. And we’re kicking ourselves in the butt in a lot of instances.”

The imaginable brilliant aspect for the protecting Super Bowl champions: They consider, and feature noticed, their team in a position to executing assignments in live performance. Each week of familiarity and chemistry-building brings gamers heightened working out of one another’s in-game inclinations. McVay and Co. will stay retooling.

“Right now, it’s just time for us to get on the same page,” Henderson instructed Yahoo Sports. “Get all the kinks out of the way and it’s time to go now. I believe in everybody in this offense, we all know the assignments and we’ll get it done.

“This offense is very explosive. When we’re all doing our one-eleventh, we’re a hell of an offense to stop.”

Follow Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein

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