After starting his first five games at left guard for the St. Louis Rams, rookie Jamon Brown was back at right guard next to rookie right tackle Rob Havenstein at practice on Wednesday.
Brown played on the right side throughout most of the preseason and in training camp, so the move didn’t catch him totally off guard. Veteran Garrett Reynolds, filling in for injured guard Rodger Saffold, moved into the left guard spot next to second-year left tackle Greg Robinson. Saffold is out for the season with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
“I take it all the way back to college, I’ve been playing both sides of the line whether it be right tackle or left tackle,” said Brown, a third-round pick out of Louisville. “It’s pretty much the same, now it’s all about mastering the technique at the right side.”
But isn’t it a little confusing? Robinson had difficulty last year when switching from guard to tackle.
“It can kind of play with your head,” Brown said. “On the left side you’re used to certain plays and being the front side of the play, now you’re on the right side and those plays where you were the front side, now you’re the back side. It can get confusing at times, but I think I do a pretty good job with it.”
Besides, Brown is happy to go wherever the coaching staff puts him.
“That’s obviously not my place to know, it’s the coach’s decision,” he said. “Whether (Rams coach Jeff Fisher) wants me to play on the left or the right it doesn’t matter. I have a job to do and I’m going to do it on either side.”
The early-season offensive line struggles seemed to go away about the time rookie running back Todd Gurley emerged as a major weapon. The Rams averaged 71.3 yards in their first three games, mostly without Gurley in the lineup, then exploded for 177.5 yards per gameagainst Arizona and Green Bay with Gurley getting the bulk of the carries.
“I think everybody has their mind set on (what) we want to be recognized (for) around the league,” Brown said, referring to a physical offensive line that can pound things out on the ground. “We want to run the ball well and we’ve started to do that. We’re constantly trying to strive to to get better and we will.
“I think you’ll see progress in the run game even though we have had some success. We’re going to continue to work and we’ll see where it goes.”
Brown spoke of Reynolds’ leadership and quarterback Nick Foles spoke about his experience. The 6-foot-7, 305-pound Reynolds is in his seventh NFL season and has made 27 starts in 57 careeer games with Detroit and Atlanta.
Reynolds was forced into action when Saffold was injured during the first half against the Packers.
“We’ll definitely miss Rodger a lot because having a veteran and a guy like that with his personality in the huddle is huge,” Foles said. “But Garrett’s doing a tremendous job right now.”
Rams injury report
There were more than a few disabled Rams at practice on Wednesday. When the team’s official injury report came out, cornerback Janoris Jenkins was listed as limited with a concussion.
Defensive end Robert Quinn (knee) and tight end Lance Kendricks (hand surgery) did not practice and neither did receiver Tavon Austin (thigh-hamstring) or running back Tre Mason (ankle).
The team was already without injured starting defensive end Chris Long (knee) and linebacker Alec Ogletree (ankle).
“Tre’s got a little ankle going,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said, adding that Mason suffered the injury in the previous game against Green Bay. “Tavon did not practice with a little hamstring. Rob (Quinn) didn’t practice with the knee. We had a couple other guys that we rested.”
Fisher downplays USC talk
On Tuesday, Fisher shot down any talk about an ESPN “College GameDay” report by Lee Corso that suggested Fisher might be a good fit for the vacant coaching position at USC..
Fisher, who signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the Rams, did play college football as a defensive back at USC and grew up in Southern California.
“I didn’t see (the report) because I was in a place where there was no TV, which was a good thing,” Fisher said. “Yeah, I’ve heard things. But no, I appreciate what anybody else is saying out there. But I made a commitment to (Rams owner) Stan (Kroenke) here, and I’m going to finish, keep that commitment.”