A third party.
Nick Leckey. to be exact.
When word that incumbent would be battling for the starting center position, few would have predicted a dark horse triumphant. There was even a point in St. Louis Rams news that Richie Incognito had first dibs on it, despite some vestigial issues with the shotgun snap.
When regimes changed in Arizona, where he had seen starting action, Nick Leckey got caught in the middle and found himself out on the street. The Rams signed him last October and rushed him in during the great o-line massacre of ought seven. He played guard last season, seeing his first action in week 8, replacing an injured Incognito. Leckey, not really expected to contend in the starting center sweepstakes this summer, emerged when Incognito slotted in as the starting RG.
Anyway, let's talk results. In Saturday's game, runs up the middle were productive. Only one run between the guards on the last drive of the first half was stopped for no gain. All the other runs between the guards gained yards. It helps that Leckey's playing in the middle with Jacob Bell and Incognito surrounding him. I'd also be remiss if I didn't again point out that the Ravens were without their starting NT, Kelley Gregg. Also, playing against the 3-4 can help the center lining him up with the NT, his assigned defender.
Those factors aside, it's hard to dismiss Leckey's performance as just some training camp fluke. It's also means Brett Romberg has a challenger for his starting job. Romberg, who fractured his non-snapping hand, may be out week 1 against the Eagles, giving Leckey the chance to cement his place with the starting unit.
There's another o-lineman worth mention here; although, he's not won any contest for the position. Adam Goldberg's play at LT this weekend, filling in for Orlando Pace, should give the Rams and their fans reason to breath easier. Of course, the Rams need Pace healthy and playing like himself at LT, but knowing that Adam Goldberg is a capable backup means we don't have to sacrifice the season should Pace have to miss some time.