Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
The St. Louis Rams made more changes to their offensive line this week, releasing a former starter who was benched this week. Amazingly enough, the team's blockers continue to exceed expectations.
Changes continued to happen along the St. Louis Rams offensive line on Monday, following the team's 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Guard Quinn Ojinnaka was released by the team, a day after getting benched for Shelley Smith at the left guard spot. No corresponding move has been announced at this time.
Smith played a solid game on Sunday, making his first ever NFL start. According to the stats from Pro Football Focus, Smith allowed a single pressure on quarterback Sam Bradford, a hurry.
It added further evidence to the argument for Paul Boudreau's beatification as a man with a magic touch for offensive linemen. What the Rams have done with a crew made mostly of career backups, is nothing short of a miracle. Pressure on Bradford is better, and the run blocking is dramatically improved over what the Rams have experienced in the past with a much more expensive offensive line.
Smith got a 1.6 grade from PFF for his run blocking this week, the highest mark of anyone on the line. That fact doubtlessly made the decision easier for Jeff Fisher and Les Snead.
Ojinnaka's release raises one key question about the roster. Who will replace him? Scott Wells is on track to return in Week 10, but that's not a guarantee. The Rams still have one more game to play between now and then as well. With injuries commonplace among that group, I wonder mostly about the depth chart between now and until Wells can return.
Joe Barksdale started at left tackle for Wayne Hunter. He was credited with allowing a sack, a hit and a hurry on Bradford.