I'm not a superstitious guy, not at all. That said, even the most skeptical among are starting to believe that the St. Louis Rams offensive line is cursed. Did they us a monkey's paw to get to the Super Bowl back in the day? Not even a full 48 hours had passed between the preseason game in which the Rams OL struggled against Minnesota's second team pass rush before the Rams watched rookie LT Rodger Saffold leave practice with a back injury.
There is no word yet on the extent of his injury, so it might very well be just a day-to-day thing. Spagnuolo has to hope so anyway. Saffold struggled on Saturday. Before that, he had shown real acumen for the left side and could have overcome some of the struggles that exasperated fans just as Sam Bradford fever took hold. Hold your breath, cross you fingers, etc. The Rams need Rodger Saffold to be healthy. They also need him to get the reps in practice and preseason play if they expect him to be a factor soon rather than later in the coming season.
However, it could be worse. Jason Smith would move to the left side and Adam Goldberg to the right. Smith has the talent; we saw it last year. His struggles on Saturday were a remider that he has a long way to go, but him getting there is not outside the realm of the somewhat likely.
In other bad news, Brian Westbrook chose the 49ers, of all places. He'll ply his trade behind Frank Gore, forming the most-talented, most-injured 1-2 punch of running backs in the division. A little disappointing, no? It is important to remember that the Rams still have Steven Jackson. Mike Sando makes a good point about the team needing to develop their talent, like RB Chris Ogbonnaya. The Silent G impressed enough last year to make you think that there is some talent there. After all, he did look pretty good catching the ball and it was not his fault that the o-line had a bad night.
Reading some of the exasperated comments today, it's worth remembering that lots of players do not develop overnight.
I guess it'd be too much to ask for the 49ers to put Anthony Dixon on their practice sqaud? Yeah, figures. If you haven't seen him run, he's a classic Sylvester Croom (current Rams RB coach and former Mississippi State coach) power back. In fact, he looks a little like the poor man's Steven Jackson to me.
ESPN's Mike Sando is camp this week, and you'll want to read his report. One of the things that stood to me: a report of OG Roger Allen III hammering Clifton Ryan in practice today. The Rams need some good news at guard. That he's going up against Ryan, assuming it was first teams practicing against each other, means he is getting a further look at guard. Worth keeping an eye on.
Even better news is Sando's take on Steven Jackson. Give it a read.
Some key names returned to practice this week, though still somewhat limited. That list's most notable names are CBs Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher. Also on the list is G Jacob Bell, WR Mardy Gilyard, WR Brandon Gibson and DE C.J. Ah You.