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Practice Report 11/11: Improving the Offense

Posted Nov 11, 2015

QB Nick Foles and coordinator Frank Cignetti spoke Wednesday on ways the offense can get better, particularly with WR Wes Welker.

The Rams’ offensive struggles have been well documented, and the team signed wide receiver Wes Welker to help this week. Now comes the task of making sure everyone on the unit improves in order to achieve a better level of consistency.

“We’re not satisfied,” head coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday. “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."

“We’re very optimistic,” offensive coordinator Frank 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.”

This is a unit that went through a bevy of major changes over the offseason -- starting with its coordinator. With the promotions of Cignetti and assistant head coach/offense Rob Boras, the additions of quarterback Nick Foles and running back Todd Gurley, and the shuffling on the offensive line, St. Louis’ offense has a completely different look than it did at this time last year. Given all the moving parts, there are myriad reasons why consistent production has been hard to come by through the first eight games.

As quarterback Nick Foles put it after Wednesday’s practice, the unit knows it has a long way to go, but it will likely never be satisfied -- even after a breakout game.

“Us as an offense, we come out here every day wanting to improve,” Foles said. “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.”
Foles said the team continuing to grow together should improve third-down efficiency. According to the quarterback, the unit has to be better at being in sync in those situations, as defenses have been mixing up their looks and coverages.

“We’ve been out-executed as an offense,” Foles said. “We’ve got to make sure we go out there and I have to be accurate with the throw, receivers do a good job getting out of their breaks. It’s a group effort as an offense.”

Staying on target with positive plays on first and second down should be a factor in that area as well.

“First and second down, staying inside of the sticks, not getting to third-and-seven plus,” Foles said. “The percentage of converting on those isn’t nearly as high as on a third-and-two/four.”

Fisher has talked about Welker’s third-down skills since the club signed the wideout on Monday, and Foles said Wednesday the veteran can help in more than just that situation.

“I think just adding him to the mix in general, just what he can do,” Foles said. “Just his ability to get open, his ability to play. Really his ability to impact the receivers will be great.”

“I think just having him in there to teach the young guys maybe how to run different routes versus different coverages, or little things he’s picked up along the way, or just the wisdom of anything is huge for those guys,” Foles added.

Some of that is already being realized, even in the short time Welker’s been with the team.

“Anybody that’s been to the postseason as many times as he has, and played under a veteran quarterback and a veteran system as much as he has can bring a lot of knowledge,” tight end Jared Cook said. “He’s a great veteran receiver. That guy has put up numbers in this league like it’s nothing. So whatever he’s willing to share, I’m willing to learn.”

And so while the team is optimistic the offense will get better, the unit knows it’s a matter of execution from everyone involved.

“We just have to keep going through this process and keep working,” Foles said, “keep fine tuning what we’re doing and eventually it’ll all click together and we’ll be ready to roll.”

INJURY REPORT


The Rams had seven players on their injury report Wednesday, but there was good news to go with it.

Defensive end Robert Quinn (knee), right tackle Rob Havenstein (ankle), safety T.J. McDonald (foot), linebacker Akeem Ayers (illness), and defensive end Chris Long (knee) did not participate in Wednesday’s session. Running back Todd Gurley also did not participate, but for a day of rest -- not an injury.

“I think Friday is going to be a really good day for us,” Fisher said. “Todd was just a rest day today. He needed the rest. He’ll be fine. I think we’ll see Rob on the field -- both Rob’s, No. 94, No. 79 on the field [on Friday].”

As for Long, Fisher said the defensive end is getting closer to returning from his knee injury.

“I think he’s ready to go out and run on land now, so could be a couple weeks,” Fisher said.

Running back Chase Reynolds (thigh) also appeared on the report, but was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice.