Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Fumbling for answers to bad recovery rate
By Mike Sando
Janoris Jenkins' critical fumble return for a touchdown Sunday was a long time coming for the St. Louis Rams.
The team had recovered only one opponent's fumble all season, the last one coming against Arizona's Kevin Kolb in Week 5.
Even with Jenkins' recovery and return during a 16-13 victory over San Francisco, the Rams rank tied for last with two opponent fumble recoveries.
St. Louis next plays a Buffalo team with 11 lost fumbles, seventh-most in the NFL behind Philadelphia (16), Kansas City (16), Pittsburgh (13), the New York Jets (13), Denver (13) and Tennessee (12).
The Rams have fumbled 18 times, losing six. Their opponents have fumbled nine times.
Arizona (nine), Seattle (seven) and San Francisco (seven) rank near the middle of the pack in opponent fumble recoveries.
Research indicates there's not much extra a team can do to recover fumbles. Players are either in the right position or they are not. If that is true, the Rams are due for the odds to even out. They recovered only six of 24 opponent fumbles last season.
In Jenkins' case, he appeared more aggressive than the 49ers' Ted Ginn Jr. in going after the ball. Both were near the ball, but Jenkins had a running start. He dove for the ball while Ginn was leaning over to pick it up.
"I would suggest that if that play happened 10 times, he’d probably get that ball nine out of 10 times if he’s competing with Ted," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "You look at the play, Ginn turned back and ran trying to pick it up. He [Jenkins] was running full speed, so he obviously was in better position to get it."