Rams QB Foles says there’s plenty he can do better
ST. LOUIS — Nick Foles is easy to spot when examining the St. Louis Rams’ offensive woes.
Their new quarterback doesn’t shy away from the criticism. The Rams are last in total offense in the NFL and Foles knows a lot of it is on him.
"Absolutely. I’m at the front of it," Foles said after practice Wednesday. "That’s me bigtime — I’m the one who touches the ball every single play."
Foles threw his first interception of the season in a 12-6 loss to Pittsburgh last week. Then again, he’s got just two touchdown passes.
Foles is among several new faces in an offensive retooling that hasn’t yet taken root.
Two rookies are starting on the line for St. Louis (1-2), which is counting on getting a lot more from running back Todd Gurley now that he’s healthy.
The Rams gave Foles a two-year contract extension before he took a single snap in the preseason, projecting he would return to being the player who starred for the Eagles in 2013 and was the MVP of the 2014 Pro Bowl.
After an impressive opening victory in overtime against Seattle, the offense has totaled 16 points in two weeks and gone 4 for 22 on third down.
Following the Steelers loss, Foles said it wasn’t the "end of the world." Meaning, there was plenty of time to dial it all in.
"My job is to make sure guys are in great position," he said. "I have to execute better and spread it around and keep pushing my guys."
Naturally, coaches and players are always going to be optimistic at this point of the season.
"When you go back and watch the tape, there are so many encouraging things," offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti said. "We’ve got to do the little things better so those runs and passes become conversions."
There’s been no griping. For instance, no one has been too hard on tight end Lance Kendricks, who dropped a potential touchdown pass in the second half when he lost the ball in the lights.
"Everybody in life makes mistakes, I don’t give a dang who you are," fellow tight end Jared Cook said. "It’s how you move on after the mistakes."
Everybody also seems sold that the plan, if executed, will work.
"There’s too many little mistakes that are holding us back," center Tim Barnes said. "We feel we’re real close to being vastly improved and it doesn’t just show what we say, but says it on paper."
The competition is a contributing factor to the offensive woes; the Steelers are ranked No. 1 overall on defense. And it might be difficult to make a huge improvement right away, with a road game at high-powered Arizona on Sunday.
The Cardinals had two interception returns for touchdown on the 49ers’ first two possessions in a 47-7 rout last week and had four picks in all.
Foles respects the Arizona defense, but said the game plan won’t change.
"I’m going to play like I always have, run our offense, run what we do," Foles said. "I know they’re very talented, but I’ll take our guys."
Teammates like that kind of talk.
"You go out there with a mentality that nobody can hold you and nobody can mess with you," Cook said. "It’s just perfecting our craft."
NOTES: LB James Laurinaitis was among five players who didn’t practice and the lone whose non-participation was not injury-related. … Also held out were RB Chase Reynolds (knee), DE Eugene Sims (knee), S Maurice Alexander (groin) and WR Kenny Britt (shoulder). Alexander and Britt are expected to play, but Reynolds and Sims are likely out at least another week. … WR Brian Quick, coming off shoulder surgery, may be getting closer to being active for the first time. "It’s a great problem to have in terms of who’s going to be down," Cignetti said.
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