Rams’ Fisher concerned with D-linemen jumping offside
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Rams defensive linemen jumped offside five times in last week’s overtime loss at Minnesota.
Coach Jeff Fisher is fed up with the ongoing problem.
More than once, players have been threatened with a radical solution.
"I’ll back them off," Fisher said. "They can line up 3 yards off the ball and we’ll get a running start after the ball’s snapped."
That won’t happen, but it gets players’ attention.
The Rams (4-4) have the fifth-ranked defense in the NFL and are tied for second with 27 sacks, so they’re obviously doing a lot of things right. Just ask this week’s opponent.
"I mean, their up-front guys, it’s hard to find that much talent on one defense," Bears coach John Fox said. "Their No. 2s could start with quite a few teams around the league."
The pre-snap penalties could simply be a byproduct of that aggressive approach under Fisher and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
"Teams that lead the NFL in sacks usually have a lot of offside penalties, and teams that are at the bottom have few," middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "But we can’t be naive and think it’s not a problem."
First-and-5 makes it a lot tougher to get stops.
"We recognize it as a problem," Laurinaitis said. "Trust me, Gregg has harped on it for weeks."
William Hayes drew two of the offside calls. He thought the Rams have simply been overeager the past few games.
"It’s a fine line, being a get-off team and being offside," Hayes said. "We’ve got to be smarter. These penalties are starting to pile up."
So far, so good. Fisher wants them keeping their eye on the ball.
"As soon as that little brown thing moved, they moved," Fisher said. "Which is good."
Tackle Michael Brockers has been a frequent offender, too. He said he’s been "way too aggressive," and from here on out will watch for the ball, and his man, to move first.
"Guys want to take advantage, and that’s what I have been trying to do," Brockers said. "I am working on it."
Brockers was whistled in each of the Vikings’ first two drives, helping Minnesota get a field goal and touchdown for a 10-0 lead.
Nick Fairley was whistled to give Minnesota first-and-5 at the St. Louis 12 and two plays later Adrian Peterson ran it in for a 6-yard score.
Hayes was penalized in the third and fourth quarters, but it didn’t lead to points.
"For me last week, it was really uncharacteristic," Hayes said. "We’ve just got to tone it down and play disciplined."
Notes: Fisher said WR Wes Welker picked up a lot for his second practice and will likely be a game-day decision with at least a limited package. "It went great," Welker said. "I’m fired up about it." … S T.J. McDonald (foot), RB Todd Gurley (coach’s decision-rest) and OLB Akeem Ayers (illness) were among six players that did not practice Wednesday. Two of them, DE Robert Quinn (knee) and G Todd Havenstein (Achilles), are expected back Friday when the team returns after a day off. DE Chris Long (knee) is still weeks away from returning.