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Rams makeshift O-line unsettled at left guard

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Nov. 01, 2012 @ 5:05 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

It would appear the Rams’ supreme faith in offensive line coach Paul Boudreau has been more than justified.

“If you had to pick an Assistant Coach of the Year right now, he’d be it,” said one team insider who has marveled at the job Boudreau has done with a decidedly makeshift offensive line, particularly on the left side. “It’s really very surprising how well the line has held the fort with the team’s third left tackle (Joe Barksdale) and maybe their third or fourth left guard (Shelley Smith) starting lately. All these guys are reclamation projects.”

One guy who isn’t a reclamation project is OLT Rodger Saffold, who we hear should be back to almost full strength when the Rams resume action Nov. 11 after being out since Week Two with a left knee injury. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher emphatically doused rumors that Saffold, who has been mired in “Injury Hell” since mid-November of last year when he tore a pectoral muscle lifting weights, could be moved to guard.

“He started off the season playing pretty well,” the insider said of Saffold. “Fisher really likes his athleticism at left tackle.”

The situation at left guard, however, is still being sorted out during the Rams’ bye week, with newly acquired Chris Williams, a former first-round draft pick of the Bears, added to a host of potential challengers headed by Smith and Barksdale, each of whom have proven to be very serviceable under Boudreau’s direction.

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