The St. Louis Rams got some good news on the injury front this week, most notably at the offensive tackle position where the only potentially starting player not dealing with an injury this week is rookie Rodger Saffold. Let's get right in to it.
Jason Smith had his busiest day of camp so far, working with the starting unit at right tackle. It wasn't exactly full-on live work, as Spagnuolo explained, but it was as active as Smith has been since camp started. Smith probably will sit versus the Vikings in the Rams preseason opener.
I'm disappointed with Smith because injuries have kept him from realizing his incredible potential. That's a lot different than the things that kept Alex Barron from realizing his full potential, but a roadblock is a roadblock and now Smith finds himself on the right side. Of course, which side he's on doesn't matter either; the Rams are obliged to play their best players for each spot...you wouldn't want to see it any other way. Smith would have been locked in at left tackle had things gone as planned.
That said, it's hardly too late for Smith. Rams O-line coach Steve Loney noted in the PD article that Smith was "playing his best football" when he was lost for the season with a concussion. Whatever side he ends up on this season, I hope that the de facto competition he finds himself in at camp this year provides a little extra motivation to reach skyward and give the Rams an excellent offensive tackle.
With Smith recovering from injuries, the Rams got a real scare when Adam Goldberg hyperextended his elbow in practice on Monday. Fortunately, a little tape had him back on the field the same day. He was working in place of Jacob Bell (stomach muscle injury) at LG in practice yesterday. In a way, I'm almost more assured having Goldberg as a starting guard than Bell, but there again the Rams need Bell to play up to his contract. Bell played well last season before the Rams lost him late in the year. The biggest downside to having Goldberg at OG is that he's also the team's third OT. Of course, they have some depth at OG, including Hank Fraley who was back in action on Tuesday as well.
And in other injury news...CB Ron Bartell did some work yesterday and is closer to a return. I highly doubt Bartell plays this weekend. The upside to that is the young CBs getting some extra live fire training in place of Bartell.
Seventh-round pick DE George Selvie extends his man-of-hour status into another day. The South Florida product worked with the starters Tuesday, a good sign that the Rams have someone they think can make an impact in the pass rush.
One last injury report to mention. In his online chat with readers, PD reporter Jim Thomas shed a little light on SS James Butler's injury. Most likely, based on Spags' use of the term "significant" to describe the injury, Butler has a torn MCL. That means he could be on the shelf for a month. So far, Butler seem to be the Rams starter with the most significant injury. Fortunately, it's at one of the few positions where the Rams have solid, experienced depth.
Ending it all on a positive note, because I want you all to go forth and have a great day. I'll leave you with one other tidbit from Thomas' chat. When asked when QB Sam Bradford "could and should" start, Thomas replied:
Based on how he's looked lately _ opening day.
Other parts of the Rams machine may struggle, but it's encouraging that Bradford is right where he ought to be, probably even a little further along than most expectations coming into training camp. Now, if we can just get a healthy offensive line to protect him.