St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo plans to play his starters in tomorrow night's preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Rams' starters will play for the first quarter or around 12-15 plays, depending on how things go. A quarter of play is more than the typical cursory appearance starters make in the fourth preseason game, but this is no normal year. James Laurinaitis might sit tomorrow night, bothered again by a pectoral injury in practice this week. His status raises the anxiety level of the unusual move of playing the starters for a full quarter.
For those of you keeping score at home, Laurinaitis' pectoral barked at him earlier in the preseason. It kept him on the sidelines in the first game. He practiced yesterday after missing the previous day's session.
Players, especially players who do what James Laurinaitis does, deal with injuries all season. A little tape, some anti-inflamatory medicine and a whole lot of grit get them through a year of abuse. However, Laurinaitis' pectoral injury has been a recurring problem throughout training camp. Teams tread extra carefully this time of year, especially with their starters, so you wonder just what kind of problem JL's injury would be during the regular season.
Linebackers make tackles. Laurinaitis has accumulated 234 in his two seasons with the Rams, two seasons in which he never missed a game. The pectoral muscle - the chest for those of you who never giggled your way through an anatomy book - is essential to making tackles. A torn pectoral muscle put last year's starting strongside linebacker, Na'il Diggs, on IR for the last four games of the season.
For now, Laurinaitis' pec is probably just a yellow flag, something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. Hopefully, the coaches sit him tomorrow night. Laurinaitis may disagree with the move, but he probably will be fine without the reps. Besides, it gives Josh Hull some time to work with the starting defense, a good thing in case Laurinaitis' pectoral muscle becomes a problem again this season.