EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams' had their starting offensive line intact for practice Tuesday, a pleasant surprise for the team after rookie left tackle Rodger Saffold left practice with a back injury Monday.
Saffold's quick return was hugely important for the Rams as they try to establish continuity and build around rookie quarterback Sam Bradford.
I spoke with veteran guard Jacob Bell after practice to get a better feel for the line's shaky performance against the Minnesota Vikings in the exhibition opener. There is no panic on the line. Right tackle Jason Smith was only recently back from injury and the Vikings threw some wrinkles at the Rams, catching them a bit unprepared, which happens more often during the exhibition season.
Bell said he expects the line to be far better prepared when the regular season begins.
The situation at guard isn't as good as it would have been if Richie Incognito were still around, but the line has a chance to improve gradually if the same five players can stay on the field over time. Saffold's light feet and Smith's power in the run game will be key.
The Rams face a tough defensive front in the opener against Arizona, however.