Morning Ram-blings: Looking at left guard

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Before Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher told his team to treat the first four games as preseason contests with a new start coming in Week 5.

One thing still looked like the preseason, though, was Chris Williams and Shelley Smith taking turns playing left guard. In the preseason, the duo battled for the job with Williams eventually winning it.

Williams had handled all of the work at the position but Smith found himself back in the mix against the Jaguars. Williams still got most of the snaps, playing 47, but Smith found himself on the field for 26 plays.

Fisher said the split time had nothing to do with trying to jumpstart the offense or make a change.

“Just trying to get him some work -- that’s all," Fisher said. "Chris didn’t have any problems. He played well, just trying to get [Smith] some work.”

Normally, it would be hard to imagine a healthy starter being rotated out of the game so another player could "get some work." But in this case, there is some logic behind the move.

Without the injured Rodger Saffold, the Rams are thin at the position. Jake Long and Joe Barksdale are the starters but beyond that duo, the Rams do not have many options with knowledge of the offense and experience on the edge, except for Williams.

In Sunday's game, the Rams kept tackles Mike Person and Brandon Washington inactive with Smith and Tim Barnes as the only active backups. In the event a tackle got hurt, it seems likely the plan would be to move Williams out to tackle with Smith entering the game at guard. Although that scenario did not play out, it seems the Rams wanted to at least get Smith some reps so he wouldn't be going in completely cold.


Our daily roundup of Rams' stories on ESPN.com. ... We kicked off Monday with our weekly rookie review, tallying snap counts and production among the team's rookie class. ... Next, it was this week's version of Upon Further Review and four hot issues coming out of the win against Jacksonville. ... From there, we looked at the impact of receiver Austin Pettis and his emergence as the most reliable receiving option on the team right now. ... We capped the day off with a quick injury update and the acknowledgement that rookie Zac Stacy will indeed get another start at running back.


Post-Dispatch beat writer Jim Thomas writes about Sam Bradford leading the pregame huddle with an impassioned speech before the Jacksonville game.

Thomas also looks at the Rams' attempt to start fresh.

Columnist Bryan Burwell discusses the need for the Rams' win against the Jaguars.

Stltoday.com's Jeff Gordon offers a look at the current struggles of the Rams' next opponent, the Houston Texans.

At foxsportsmidwest, Ben Frederickson provides some thoughts on Stacy's performance against Jacksonville.