The Rams have taken major steps rebuilding the roster in two seasons of wheeling, dealing, and drafting under coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead. But just when it looked like much of the heavy lifting was done, the Rams could be facing a major renovation project on the offensive line. It all begins with Rodger Saffold, the tackle turned guard, whose original four-year contract is up. He’s scheduled for unrestricted free agency on March 11, the first day of the free agency-trading period, aka the start of the league year. Back in March, neither Saffold nor his agent were happy about Saffold being switched to right tackle after the signing of Jake Long in free agency. But Saffold uttered no discouraging words once he arrived at Rams Park for the spring practice period and over the course of the just-completed 2013 season. Before Saffold’s wild ride of a season ended with a possible concussion in Seattle, he had made only three starts at right tackle, started five games at right guard, and started the Seattle finale at left tackle in place of the injured Long. That’s nine starts. After suffering a knee injury in Week 2 in Atlanta, Saffold missed the next four contests. He returned from the injury Oct. 20 in Carolina and rotated with starter Joe Barksdale in that game as well as the next two contests. But it was those five starts at right guard, beginning with the Nov. 10 rout of Indianapolis, that got everyone’s attention. Before the start of this season, there were some at Rams Park who felt Saffold could be an elite performer at guard because of his combination of size, strength, footwork, and athleticism. Saffold’s play in those five starts did nothing to dispute that notion. There were times as a puller when he struck linebackers with such force they looked like they were going backwards on skates. He usually got from Point A to Point B quickly for a 330-pounder when pulling. Saffold was unavailable to the media after the Seattle game and on Monday at Rams Park because of the potential injury, which turned out not to be a concussion.
Rams must consider offensive line options
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jan 2