Rams mailbag: What’s behind the team’s uneven offense?

Rams Coach Jeff Fisher cheers Tavon Austin and Todd Gurley after a first-quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 20.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Rookie quarterback Jared Goff starts for the second time Sunday when the Rams play the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Rams are 4-6 after last week’s 14-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The Saints also are 4-6.

Now, on to your questions. Keep them coming at @latimesklein or

The Rams have at times looked pretty clumsy on offense. They rank 31st in the league in yards and dead last in scoring.

So there is a valid case for both of your choices. But I would also add another: Poor execution.

This is essentially the same offensive line that blocked for Todd Gurley last season when he ran for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. Gurley and the linemen appeared fairly talented in 2015.

It’s fair to say that neither the players nor the coaches have adjusted to schemes designed to force the Rams to beat them with the passing game.

Todd Gurley has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game and has not resembled the back who won the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award in 2015.

Part of that is on the offensive line. Part of that is on the coaching staff.

And part of it has to be on Gurley.

Jeff Fisher has hinted at changes along the offensive line, so perhaps that will help improve Gurley’s performance.

Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau has been on the Rams staff since 2012.

I didn’t cover the Rams last season, but the sense I got in the off-season was that the line performed adequately enough for Gurley to have his breakout rookie year.

The struggles experienced by left tackle Greg Robinson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, falls on the player and on the coaching staff, including Boudreau.

I receive a lot of questions about play-calling. This is the first about receiver Tavon Austin’s use as a running back.

The 5-foot-8, 176-pound Austin is most often deployed as ball-carrier on fly sweeps, but he has lined up in the backfield and taken hand-offs. He has rushed for 81 yards in 18 carries.

Last season, Austin rushed for 434 yards and four touchdowns. He has rushed for 890 yards and seven touchdowns in his career.

Frankly, I was a bit perplexed when they tried to run him between the tackles last week against Miami.

There is a feeling in the Rams organization that with all that has gone on with the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles – and the bouncing around from Oxnard to UC Irvine to Thousand Oaks – and all the long road trips the Rams are making during the season, that Fisher should get another year if the Rams don’t completely bottom out.

And with the final three games against division opponents, they probably won’t.

Just because a coach receives an extension does not mean he is guaranteed to fulfill every year of it.

The pressure will be on in 2017 to make significant improvement.

My sense, as noted above, is that Jeff Fisher gets at least another season.

That could change if upper management senses the players have quit on him. But that will almost certainly not happen. The vast majority of players love playing for Fisher.

Owner Stan Kroenke funds the operation. He calls the shots.

Kevin Demoff, the chief operating officer and vice president for football operations, is second in command.

General Manager Les Snead and Coach Jeff Fisher make personnel decisions but those are run up the chain to Demoff. In a situation like the one involving the trade to the top of the draft, that goes all the way up to Kroenke.

Fisher makes lineup decisions.

Receiver Nelson Spruce was placed on injured reserve a couple weeks ago.

Spruce suffered a knee injury in the first exhibition against the Dallas Cowboys. He appeared to be on his way back to becoming a full participant in practice during the bye week, but apparently suffered a calf injury.

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