Injuries force Rams to go (offensive) line dancing

Losing Jamon Brown (pictured) and Darrell Williams for the season will cause the Rams to shuffle their offensive line considerably. AP Photo/Tom Gannam

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Lost in the midst of coach Jeff Fisher's announcement that the St. Louis Rams are making a change at quarterback was the news that his team lost not one, but two, offensive linemen to injury for the rest of the season -- on the same play.

With 4:14 to go in Sunday's 37-13 loss to the Chicago Bears, quarterback Nick Foles threw an interception to Bears linebacker Willie Young. On the ensuing return, guard Jamon Brown suffered a fractured lower leg and tackle Darrell Williams went down with a dislocated wrist.

Brown had to be taken off on a cart. Williams played the final five snaps with the injured wrist. By Sunday night, it was clear that both required surgery and will have to go on season-ending injured reserve.

"Coincidentally, it happened on the same play, both injuries happened on the interception return," Fisher said. "So [Williams will] be lost for the remainder of the season as well."

That means the Rams will have to do some major shuffling on the offensive line this week. Brown and Williams will head to injured reserve and Fisher acknowledged Monday that tackle Isaiah Battle will be promoted from the practice squad to take one spot.

“From a conditioning standpoint and a lower body strength and overall strength standpoint, he’s much further ahead than he was when he got here," Fisher said. "He wasn’t in good shape when he got here for obvious reasons and so we had to get him in shape. He’s done a really good job in the weight room. He has a much better feel for what we’re doing. He’s got really long arms. He’s athletic. So, I spoke with him today. He’s a snap away from playing.”

The Rams will scour the free-agent market and, presumably, other practice squads to fill the other vacancy.

"We’re discussing stuff with our pro scouting department to see what our options are to get some depth in here and potentially some practice squad help," Fisher said.

In more promising injury news, right tackle Robert Havenstein's calf injury isn't as bad as the Rams initially feared. Fisher said he's considered day-to-day, but it's uncertain what his status will be this week against Baltimore.

So while Battle and someone else will fill the two open roster spots, the Rams will have to do some shuffling on the offensive line. Fisher declined to offer specifics on how the Rams will line up but it's safe to assume if Havenstein can't play this week that rookie guards Andrew Donnal and Cody Wichmann would step in to the guard spots with left guard Garrett Reynolds moving over to right tackle.

If Havenstein can play, the Rams would be able to leave Reynolds at left guard and have to choose between Donnal and Wichmann for the right guard spot. Fisher said Demetrius Rhaney is viewed as the primary backup on the interior.

“Well, Andrew got to play last week," Fisher said. "He got to start and played the whole game, so that’s valuable experience. Now, as we move forward, it looks like they’re both going to play. I mean, I’ve been pleased with Cody. Cody missed some time with the calf injury during camp, but since then, Coach [Paul] ‘Bou’s [Boudreau] getting him reps and he knows what to do -- big, strong guy who can pull and can pass protect. So we’ll see.”

For an offensive line that entered the season with a litany of questions, the list has only gotten longer.