Problems with St. Louis' offense

The lockout made digesting a new offense tougher for Sam Bradford and the Rams. Jim O'Connor/US Presswire

Along with "Is there such a thing as a legal hit by a defender?" one of the biggest mysteries of the 2011 NFL season has been, "Why is the St. Louis Rams' offense still so bad?" Going into this season, Rams fans had plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the team's offense, chief among them being the emergence of 2010 No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford as a bona fide franchise quarterback.

However, there were other developments to get excited about in St. Louis. First, there was the Rams' second-round pick, left tackle Rodger Saffold, whose play allowed the team to move on from their ill-fated Alex Barron experiment. Second, the team's stable of young, talented wide receivers, which had been decimated by injury in 2010, was returning to full health. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the team hired former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels as its new offensive coordinator, presumably because of his impressive track record for developing quarterbacks.

Yet here we are in Week 14 of the season, and the Rams' offensive statistics in 2011 are almost identical to what they posted in 2010 -- and perhaps worse.

From a total yardage standpoint, they were 26th in overall offense last season, 21st in passing and 25th in rushing. This year, they're 31st overall and 28th in both passing and rushing.