<
>

Rams lineman Demetrius Rhaney getting work at guard

Demetrius Rhaney has spent most of this week at left guard with the starting unit. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- As one third of the competition for the St. Louis Rams' center job, Demetrius Rhaney has spent most of his days with the team in the middle of the offensive line.

But with starting left guard Rodger Saffold sitting out because of a shoulder injury, Rhaney has been expanding his horizons in recent days. Rhaney has spent most of this week at left guard with the starting unit.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Rhaney has handled the transition without much of a problem.

"He's done well," Fisher said. "The guard position, in his defense, is a little easier. There's a lot of thinking that's going on in that center spot and he's handling that very well, but at the guard position you just line up and play. He's done a good job there for us."

To be clear, the starting left guard job belongs to Saffold and he will reclaim it when he returns from injury. For what it's worth, he spent each of the three practices doing some running on the side under the supervision of the athletic training staff.

In the meantime, Rhaney is getting reacclimated to guard, a position he played some in college before moving to center full time. Adding versatility will be key for Rhaney and any lineman competing for a spot. With Barrett Jones expected to take his turn starting at center this week, Rhaney could bolster his case for a roster spot, whether he wins the starting center job or not, by playing well at guard.

Either way, with Saffold out, the Rams are attempting to get their linemen as many chances to play different positions as possible.

"It's just the expectation that Rodger will be back, so we are moving people around so guys are getting a lot of valuable experience, especially Garrett (Reynolds)," Fisher said. "Garrett is playing guard, he's playing tackle and all that and then the same with Demetrius playing guard and center, so it's really valuable experience for them."

Some other notes from Thursday's practice:

• The Rams were short on defensive tackles Thursday night as Nick Fairley, Michael Brockers, Doug Worthington and Aaron Donald didn't participate in team portions of practice. That left plenty of reps for Louis Trinca-Pasat and Ethan Westbrooks. Trinca-Pasat nearly made an acrobatic interception after dropping deep in zone coverage. He didn't come up with the pick, but it was a nice pass breakup nonetheless.

• Others sitting out Thursday night were cornerback Brandon McGee, cornerback E.J. Gaines, linebacker Daren Bates, linebacker Korey Toomer, offensive lineman Andrew Donnal and tight end Brad Smelley.

• Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams attended practice and spent some time catching up with players and coaches. So too did former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, the father of wide receiver Emory Blake.

• Some on-field highlights: Safety Cody Davis came up with a nice interception for the second time this week during team drills, elevating near the goal line to make the pick. ... Running back Todd Gurley made a nice catch for a touchdown on a swing pass from Austin Davis in red zone work. ... Davis and receiver Chris Givens connected on a deep ball for a would-be touchdown later on.

• The Rams have their normal walk-through set for Friday before Saturday night's preseason game against the Colts.

• Fisher said the Rams intend to play rookie linemen Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein a little more Saturday night, likely deep into the first half, if not all of it.