St. Louis Rams Need Bounce Back Season From Injured Players

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Danny Amendola #16 of the St. Louis Rams dislocates his elbow during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Eagles defeated the Rams 31-15. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Plague is the only word I can think of to accurately describe what happened to the St. Louis Rams last season. All over the roster, from the top of the depth chart to the bottom, the Rams were hit hard with injuries. The lingering effects of those injuries could be seen on the field this week in the team's veteran mini-camp.

According to Howard Balzer, a group of a injured players from last season were on the field with their teammates, but did not do "significant work" with the others. That list includes Danny Amendola, Bradley Fletcher, Michael Hoomanawanui, Jerome Murphy, Roger Saffold, Greg Salas and Jason Smith.

After the jump, a look at which of those players will be the most essential to a team rebound in 2012.

Roger Saffold - The Rams left tackle, who was still working as the starting left tackle this week, was limited in his work. The team says Saffold is about 85 percent recovered, according to CBS, from a torn pectoral muscle that ended his season last year. Perhaps no player on the roster is as important as Saffold, since it looks like he'll be tasked with protecting Bradford's blind side.

Jason Smith - According to the Rams web site, Smith looked like a different player. He sure needs to be, and the chance to work with OL coach Paul Boudreau could be just what Smith has lacked in his career thus far.

Danny Amendola - The top of the list among a logjam of slot receivers, the offense missed Bradford's favorite dump off target. If the team can finally spread out defenses, I'll be anxious to see what Amendola can do with more space.

Greg Salas - No player is more interesting to me than Salas. He has the kind of skills that could make him a very good possession receiver. He struggled with concentration last year.

Bradley Fletcher - Can he rebound from a second ACL tear? And how far can he rebound one year removed? Fletcher may not be a lock for the second corner job on the other side of Cortland Finnegan.

Jerome Murphy - Last year was supposed to be a big year for Murphy, but a broken ankle in training camp ended that. This is crucial period for him to prove himself to the new coaching staff. If he sticks, he'll give the Rams another physical corner who works well in man coverage.

Michael Hoomanawanui - The Rams need their tight ends to be healthy and productive. The jury is still out Lance Kendricks, who did not look nearly as explosive as billed in his rookie year. The sure-handed Hoomanawanui can be a reliable option in the red zone and a nice player to create mismatches with ... if he can stay healthy for more than eight games.

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