Let's dive into the day's news & observations from Thursday a.m. at the St. Louis Rams training camp.
First, an injury update.
FB Mike Karney is still out; however, he is rehabbing his ankle and riding a stationary bike on the sidelines today. He's expected back soon. I won't breathe easy until I see him smash a few defenders in a preseason game. He's a key player in the shift to a run-first offense and making Steven Jackson the centerpiece of the game plan, and if he misses any regular season time, it just makes that goal more difficult. Remember, there's a reason Jackson himself urged the team to get a fullback after last season.
G John Greco returned to the field today.
More and more, I feel like the Rams offensive line is a real strength. When the season started last season, depth was a big issue. Depth became a rather glaring issue when projected starting center Mark Setterstrom suffered a season ending injury in camp. That thrust the undersized career backup Nick Leckey into the starting role, and contributed to a weak middle which hurt the Rams running and passing game. Not this year. Setterstrom is working as the main backup center, behind free agent acquisition Jason Brown. Today's camp report from the PD cites some snap issues, but a positive report from the coaches about Setterstrom's performance. If he can get the snaps ironed out, Setterstrom's a much better backup than the players the Rams had starting last year. Setterstrom can also play guard if called upon; he's made starts at both guard spots with the Rams in the past. Combined with Greco, that gives them two solid options as backups in the middle, and there are some intriguing options behind them in Roy Scheuning and undrafted rookies like Roger Allen III.
In other offensive line news, the same PD report notes that rookie OT Jason Smith is "progressing steadily" and the coaches have plenty of praise for the youngster. I'm anxious to hear reports about Alex Barron's progress on the left side. Anyone out there who has been to camp have anything to add here?
The Rams are going to have a really good offensive line this year.
One more item that's music to my ears: DE James Hall seems to have become the DL du jour. Great news, as he figures to be an important player as a member of the all rush, all the time front line.