June 12, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams tackle Barry Richardson (79) defends against defensive end Chris Long (91) during minicamp at ContinuityX Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
It never seemed like the St. Louis Rams would have a position battle going on at right tackle in May. The Rams avoided finding blue chip tackle help in the draft and free agency, opting instead to try and make things work with Jason Smith. The second overall pick in the 2009 draft is now fighting with veteran Barry Richardson for his last shot at redemption in a Rams uniform.
Head coach Jeff Fisher revealed that the competition will continue as the Rams gear up for their second preseason game.
"Any time you create a competitive situation, you want to be able to evaluate it fairly," Fisher said. "We're splitting the reps here on the practice field and we haven't decided how we're going to go in the game, per se. Jason got plenty of reps in the game. He actually got a little more reps than Barry did."
The work from both tackles pleased the head coach. Smith gave a pretty good performance on Sunday afternoon. He did allow a third down sack on Kellen Clemens, killing a red zone drive, but Fisher wrote that off after officials missed a call on a Colts' defender who jumped into the neutral zone.
"I want to get the level of play up; increase it," Fisher said. "The understanding, the awareness, the playing physical in the run game and knowing exactly what you're doing in pass protection in the passing game."
Overall, Fisher was pleased with the work of his offensive line, but he did offer up a caveat to that assessment.
"I thought it was pretty good for the first preseason game against the opponent that's doing a lot of different things," Fisher explained. "I thought it was pretty good. The ones ... especially did a good job sorting things out early and getting movement and creating lanes for ‘Jack.' And then throughout the game, twos did a pretty good job here and there, too.
"So, we'll continue to work it. We're getting better. That's the most important thing is we're seeing improvement. ‘Rok' (G Rokevious Watkins), he's really improved since he got out of the practice field a week ago."
Neither tackle has done enough in practice or on the playing field to get the job.
"We'll just continue with it," Fisher declared. "Hopefully, we'll be able to make a decision before too long."