You can count Mike McNeill’s offensive snaps this season on two hands. Well, two hands and a couple of toes.
The third-year tight end from the University of Nebraska has participated in 12 plays on offense, but that should change Sunday in Indianapolis. With Lance Kendricks sidelined with a fractured finger, McNeill figures to see his most extension action of 2013.

“It’s always nice when your number’s called upon,” McNeill said. “I’m always ready to come in. That’s the job of a backup in the NFL. You’ve got to be ready at any moment, and now it’s gonna be a time for me to have to step up.”

The Rams have gone with lots of two and three tight end sets since rededicating themselves to the running game starting with the Jacksonville contest Oct. 6. But it’s been Kendricks, Jared Cook, and Corey Harkey getting the reps on game day.

Assuming the Rams stick with the script on multiple tight ends, McNeill will get at least some of Kendricks’ snaps.

“Mike’s a solid player,” quarterback Kellen Clemens said. “He’s good in the pass game. He’s surprisingly good in the run game even though he is a little bit lighter-bodied than maybe Lance is. He’ll step up. Lance Kendricks leaves — those are big shoes to fill — but Mike will step up in a big way for us.”

Eventually — and it may be only a week or two — the finger will heal to the point where Kendricks can play with the hand wrapped or casted up. Until then, McNeill is making sure he gives a nice firm twist whenever he shakes hands with Kendricks.

“Yeah, just accidentally hit it,” McNeill said, grinning.

Just kidding.

“Obviously, it’s never good to see a friend get hurt,” McNeill said.

The only St. Louis area player on the Rams’ roster, McNeill, 25, was a two-time all-state player at Kirkwood High. At Nebraska, a program not known for its passing game, he established school tight end records for most receptions in a season (32) and most career receptions (82).

The Rams had some interest in signing McNeill as an undrafted free agent in 2011, but he opted for Indianapolis instead, where Peyton Manning was the QB and tight end Dallas Clark was aging. Of course, Manning ended up missing that entire season because of neck issues.