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Rams' offensive keepers look to be few and far between

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Dec. 16, 2011 @ 3:09 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Anybody with eyes can see just how offensive the Rams' offense has become this season.

Managing to score only 12 offensive TDs in 13 games, an extreme makeover figures to be in the offing via the draft and free agency.

But the first order of business is figuring out just how many legitimate keepers there might be in the current unit.

Although he has regressed rather signficantly, we hear QB Sam Bradford clearly remains the offensive centerpiece.

After that, though, the fog forms quickly at just about every other position.

Start with long-time featured back Steven Jackson, who is still considered a quality back, but …

"There are some people starting to think he's nearing the end of the line," one team insider said of a player who many on the scene believe has been greatly underutilized in recent weeks.

"He's still the team's heart and soul, though, and I see him sticking. I think they also like the fullback, Brit Miller, who just went on I.R., as a lead blocker. And Danny Amendola should come back in the slot.

"But then it gets interesting."

Especially at wide receiver and the offensive line, the positions most close observers believe the Rams will target with what is almost certain to be another extremely high pick in the first round.

"I would assume they will try to re-sign Brandon Lloyd, but you have to wonder if he would want to stay if (offensive coordinator Josh) McDaniels leaves," the insider said. "I think they'll hang on to (fourth-round rookie Greg) Salas and probably also (third-round rookie Austin) Pettis. But after that, who knows? (Danario) Alexander can't stay healthy, and (Brandon) Gibson is just a guy."

On the offensive line, the consensus seems to be that OLT Rodger Saffold, despite having an off year, and free-agent addition Harvey Dahl are the closest to being locks to return. OLG Jacob Bell and C-OG Jason Brown are on shaky ground. Meanwhile, two bad concussions appear to have put former first-round ORT Jason Smith's career in jeopardy.

"I think they like the way Dahl has looked since moving from right guard to right tackle (in place of the injured Smith) and might consider making Dahl and Saffold the starting OTs," the insider said.

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