St. Louis Rams' Team Goal No. 1 for 2010: Reduce Sack Total to 20 or Fewer

David LeonCorrespondent IMay 1, 2010

The Rams’ offensive line has surrendered 40-plus sacks for ten 10 straight years. That is a decade without decent pass protection.

We have given up more than 40 sacks in every year since the year 2000. 1999 was the last year we kept the sack total below 40. The 1999 figure was 33, to be precise.  

I have frequently misquoted the stat as nine straight years. My apologies to you, dear reader. I was wrong. The actual figure is 10 straight years.


The Rams' Sack Totals over the past 11 years

YearSacks AllowedPass AttemptsPPSRank


These numbers are the most egregious eyesores a Ram fan can behold. UGLY! They indicate several things.

The first indication is that we are a bush league organization that cannot acquire an elite corps of blockers. The second indication is that we cannot teach, train, or develop the blockers we do have—the clearest indication that we cannot win the battle at the line of scrimmage.

Finally, these figures strongly imply that we never have a successful quarterback because our passer is going to be broken and battered.

Sorry, these are just the facts of life in the NFL. It’s the law of the jungle.

This must change in 2010. This is the single most important change the Rams must experience in 2010. The Rams' OL can no longer finish in the bottom quartile of the NFL in pass protection.  

There is no alternative. General manager Billy Devaney just forced the issue. He just drafted an $80 million baby who could lead us to the Promised Land...if we keep him in one piece. Now our work is cut out for us; we know what we have to do.

Last year the Detroit Lions drafted a $72 million baby. They put him behind a crappy offensive line. Because Matthew Stafford is an exceptionally talented kid, he did well, but there is very dark side to Stafford’s 2009: He finished needing not one but two surgeries. His orthopedic surgeons repaired his shoulder and his knee.

Detroit drafted no reasonable blockers for Stafford in 2010. They are trying to dig this kid an early grave. He’s going to wind up like the Million Dollar Baby in Clint Eastwood’s movie if things don’t change soon in Detroit. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Utterly stupid! This is how not to do it.

Such an outcome with Sam Bradford in 2010 would be absolutely and completely unacceptable if I were Enos Stanley Kroenke or Shahid Khan. I would consider such an outcome plenty of justification for structural changes in the organization. Believe me, if this happened and I was owner, the administration would feel my wrath. I’m talking about hellfire and damnation wrath.

The Rams cannot allow more than 20 sacks in 2010. There’s just no other way to make a positive balance sheet. The linear algebra always shows us finishing in the RED unless there is 20 or lower in the sack column. To finish in the black, our sack total has to drop to 20.

Can we reach that goal? Maybe. With great faith in Rodger Saffold’s potential, I am going to declare that we now have three young studs on the offensive line: Jason Brown, Jason Smith, and Saffold.

We have debatable guards. If we had signed Alan Faneca, I would say 20 or lower is clearly in reach. With Jacob Bell and Adam Goldberg starting...well...I don’t know.