Nine weeks into the season, the Rams have seen their depth tested at a multitude of positions, though perhaps nowhere more frequently than along the offensive line.
Entering last Sunday, injuries left just 60 percent of the line’s opening-week starting five in place. While undergoing such turnover could leave many teams in offensive turmoil, the Rams’ ‘next man up’ philosophy has instead revealed the team’s depth as a strength.
Last Sunday against Tennessee, third-year guard
Behind the recent work of the offensive line, rookie RB
“When you have an offensive line that’s working very well together – there is some rotation going on and I think that even speaks more for what they’re doing,” Head Coach Jeff Fisher said. “Because (G) Shelley’s (Smith) getting to play, (RT) Rodger’s (Saffold) getting to play – but you take the offensive line and the tight ends and in particular (TE) Cory (Harkey) at the fullback spot that’s really been effective and that’s created the holes.”
Some of the credit for Smith’s ability to contribute right away can be traced to the valuable experience gained late last season, when he shared time with current starting left guard
At the season’s outset, the Rams’ offensive line represented the most veteran contingent of the league’s youngest team. Led by Dahl, C
Now with new faces at both the quarterback position and along the offensive line, the Rams’ effectiveness up front has hardly missed a beat.
“Obviously you know that injuries are part of the game,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said prior to last week’s game against Tennessee. “But, if you remember last year, the last four games we rotated (LGs) Chris (Williams) and Shelley (Smith). As guys go and get kind of get nicked up and bumped up, you want to make sure you have guys rolling through at different spots. It’s a credit to them that they’ve been able to do it so well.”