Rams Backup Offensive Line Is Just Fine, Thank You

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 16: Daryl Richardson #26 of the St. Louis Rams rushes against the Washington Redskins at the Edward Jones Dome on September 16, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Rodger Saffold's injury early in Sunday's win put the St. Louis Rams in a tough spot. Easily their best option on the outside, he added a little inspirational element to the mix after making his way back onto the field from a pretty frightening neck injury last week in Detroit. He hurt his left knee and did not return. Wayne Hunter filled in for him, and the backup linemen - there were three at that point - did an outstanding job.

Robert Turner was filling in for Scott Wells at center. His presence was nothing particularly new for the unit since he had played their through much of training camp and half the preseason. Quinn Ojinnaka was back in at left guard, re-signed to the roster after being cut prior to the start of the season. He too was more than a little familiar with it all, having been the team's starting left guard for much of camp and the preseason.

It was pretty shrewd of the Rams to bring back Ojinnaka when Rokevious Watkins went down with an injury in practice last week. The backups knew the place, the system and their teammates.

And how about Wayne Hunter? His career looked to be over after a disastrous preseason with the New York Jets. The Rams dealt Jason Smith to the Jets in a straight up trade for Hunter, thinking that he would be an adequate backup lineman and give both players the chance for a fresh start.

That appears to be working too. Funny, but Hunter and Barry Richardson were two of the worst tackles in the NFL last season. In St. Louis, they've been given a new lease on life. I'll admit it, the thought of those two bookending Sam Bradford was more than a little frightening.

Line coach Paul Boudreau deserves more credit than fans could possibly give him, making the unit into a real strength for the team after years of it being a liability - a very expensive liability.

Jeff Fisher will no doubt have an update on Saffold's status at his Monday afternoon press conference. Hopefully, he can get back on the field soon, but the Rams have every reason to be confident after the offensive line's performance in Sunday's win.

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