Any concerns fans had about the St. Louis Rams offensive line were not laid to rest at Monday's practice. Left tackle Rodger Saffold and center Scott Wells watched their front five brethren get moved aside snap after snap from the sidelines.
The Rams have been incredibly cautious about so-called soft tissue aliments, not pushing players through those at practice lest a sore hamstring evolve into a season-long problem. Saffold's groin pull is minor, but for a unit that has struggled in the past, any missed snap is a missed opportunity to develop the all important chemistry required of an offensive line.
Wells is a different story. One of the team's high-profile free agent acquisitions he saw minimal work in the spring, and has yet to suit up with his teammates since training camp started on July 29. Obviously, he is a veteran player who knows the subtleties of blocking in the NFL. Nevertheless, he is starting the first season of his career for a team other than the Green Bay Packers, losing out on time to adjust and, you guessed it, gel with his new teammates.
Bernie Miklasz described the team's commitment to protecting Sam Bradford in a column out Monday morning. One passage that caught my eye:
Fisher says the Rams will take a sound plan for pass protection into games and quickly make adjustments to put more bodyguards around the QB. An extra tight end to help the offensive tackle, a fullback patrolling the perimeter of the pocket, etc.
The problem with that is a team is surrendering options in the offensive game, losing out on a tight end or extra running back as a potential pass catcher. Lost opportunity.
- Barry Richardson worked in place of Saffold today, getting dusted, as you can see below, by Robert Quinn. Richardson was cast off in Kansas City because he failed to keep their quarterbacks protected.
- Danario Alexander was a full go on Monday, working with the second team in 11-on-11 work. Josh Gordy, Kendric Burney and Jerome Murphy were also back in action.
- Rocky McIntosh and Josh Hull practiced as the starting weak and strong side linebackers, respectively, on Monday, as the coaching staff mixed and matched.
- Darian Stewart started opposite Quintin Mikell at safety.
- TOMORROW, August 7, is the big TST meetup at practice. Let us know if you're going to be there.
As usual, we have plenty of practice notes from our dedicated fans on the scene. Check out their notes and observations below:
Salas leaves Trumaine Johnson in his dust. Long TD pass from Clemens.— Matt Stroehmer (@MStroehmer) August 6, 2012
Isiah Pead with a drop. Simply began running before actually catching the ball. Follows up with a nice TD in corner of endzone.— Matt Stroehmer (@MStroehmer) August 6, 2012
Stewart first team safety— Wynnde (@wynnde13) August 6, 2012
Richardson having some trouble with Quinn— Wynnde (@wynnde13) August 6, 2012
Hull getting some reps with the ones in place of Haggan— Wynnde (@wynnde13) August 6, 2012
Quick with a leaping/diving catch up the sideline. Good touch by Bradford.— Matt Stroehmer (@MStroehmer) August 6, 2012
Gibson quit doing team drills about halfway through, still here, no helmet— Wynnde (@wynnde13) August 6, 2012
Nice jumping catch by Steve Smith from Clemens.— Matt Stroehmer (@MStroehmer) August 6, 2012
DL getting in the backfield quite a bit here— Wynnde (@wynnde13) August 6, 2012
Conrath still getting some run with the ones— Wynnde (@wynnde13) August 6, 2012