By Cedric Williams
With starting right guard and offensive team leader Harvey Dahl missing his second straight game with a knee injury Sunday when the Rams took on the Indianapolis Colts, head coach Jeff Fisher made an interesting decision about who should play in Dahl’s place.
The Rams had been using a platoon of Chris Williams and Shelley Smith at left guard, and used Smith to replace Dahl two weeks ago against the Tennessee Titans.
This week though, Fisher decided to use former starting right tackle Rodger Saffold at guard, figuring the former second-round pick from Indiana’s size and athleticism would help him overcome any troubles he might have playing a position he hadn’t been asked to since junior high.
“‘Rodge’ did a nice job considering he was just in there for a week,” Fisher said. “(Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau) did a great job preparing him, worked really well with (center Scott Wells) and Joe, and he’s only going to get better at it. There’s little things to clean up, as you would imagine, the technical things. But, I thought overall he did a pretty good job in there.”
Fisher went on to say he and Boudreau discussed the move earlier in the week, and they agreed that using Saffold at guard would allow the team to play its five best available offensive linemen all at the same time — even if it meant playing Saffold out of position.
“Yeah, we discussed it real early last week and felt like that would be a good option,” Fisher said. “He’s playing really well coming off the injury and then would get an opportunity to play at tackle and kind of alternate with Joe, he was playing well. And Joe’s playing good, so we felt like let’s put the best guys out there.”
With St. Louis enjoying its bye week this week, many of the player will be given some extra days off to help recuperate from what has been a difficult first half of the season.
But with Dahl not due back for several more weeks, Saffold figures to be one of the players that will be making regular trips to the Rams Park training facility this week, just so he can put in extra work to get ready for the Rams’ next game, which will be Sunday, November 24, at the Edward Jones Dome against the Chicago Bears.
“There’s definitely some things I’ve got to work on,” Saffold said. “I’m definitely gonna take the time, watch the film with the coaches.”
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Cedric Williams, a lifelong St. Louisan and proud UMSL alum, has been a freelance reporter/photographer covering St. Louis area sports for nearly two decades. Most recently, he has been working as a credentialed beat writer covering the Rams and small-school college sports for Examiner.com and other outlets from around the area. Please share any comments, questions, or feedback with Cedric at firstname.lastname@example.org. His work can be found on Examiner.com.