Speaking to reporters at the NFL scouting combine, Rams coach Jeff Fisher made it clear he’d be comfortable with having young Austin Davis serve as the team’s No. 2 quarterback behind starter Sam Bradford in 2013.

This could get interesting. Davis, an undrafted rookie in 2012, impressed the Rams and their fans with his aggressive performance in preseason games last summer. Davis, 23, displayed considerable mobility and flair in winning a roster spot as the No. 3 quarterback. Now Fisher is prepared to move Davis up the depth chart.

Bradford is secure as the starter, but it would be naïve to dismiss the possibility of a quarterback controversy. Davis will become a popular alternative among fans who decline to embrace Bradford as the foundation quarterback. Davis fired up the fan base with his ability to run around and make plays. If Davis puts on an entertaining show during the 2013 preseason, the anti-Bradford crowd will be yelping for a change.

That’s inevitable. Fisher is committed to Bradford, but Davis can help Bradford by emerging as a perceived threat. Bradford doesn’t require motivation, but he thrives on competition. Unlike Kellen Clemens, last year’s No. 2 quarterback, Davis has the potential to push Bradford in a positive way.

Davis has no realistic chance to beat out Bradford, but that doesn’t matter. For all of the silly and inaccurate yapping about Bradford being too low-key and quiet, he gets a rise out of this stuff and likes to shut people up. And there’s nothing wrong with having a little extra motivation.

Visit to the garage league

The incompetence displayed by the alleged NHL leadership is so staggeringly routine, it leaves me in awe. How can one league remain so utterly clueless and still survive? This is the real miracle on ice.

In the latest piece of unique wisdom, the NHL reaffirmed that it’s OK to crush a defenseless player with a vicious shot to the head — as long as the hit doesn’t stem from a specific, targeted attempt to injure.

Despite countless studies that loudly sound the alarm over the danger of head trauma, the NHL thinks it’s OK for a player to attack the head of an opponent.

Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, a budding star at 21, was flattened by a cheap shot delivered by Colorado’s Mark Olver in Wednesday’s game. The image of a bleeding and disoriented Tarasenko collapsed on the ice did nothing to nudge the NHL out of its hopelessly irresponsible Neanderthal mentality.

The NHL’s supervisor of player safety is Brendan Shanahan, who used to be an intelligent and thoughtful man. It’s really a shame to see what’s happened to Shanahan, who gave Olver a pass because he doesn’t believe Olver targeted Tarasenko’s head.

Intentional or unintentional: Why does it matter? This league can’t continue to look the other way when head injuries occur. So much is at stake here: a player’s health, career and quality of life. I don’t care about the penalty, no-penalty debate; head shots shouldn’t be condoned under any circumstances.

It’s bizarre. The NHL automatically penalizes a player when his stick inadvertently cuts someone — no exceptions. The NHL doesn’t care if the high stick was intentional or accidental; it’s a penalty. And some of these cuts are no more serious than the nick that occurs during a morning-shave mishap.

But it’s OK to drive a shoulder into an opponent’s skull as long as the violence is thought to be unplanned? Preposterous. And how does Shanahan know what Olver’s intentions were? I didn’t realize that Shanahan specializes in telepathy.

Brain injuries can be devastating, and the NHL will face serious legal repercussions when brain-damaged players begin filing suits. That day is coming, and soon. This foolish league refuses to protect vulnerable players, so the lawyers will have to step in and do it.

Reading Time, 3 Minutes

St. Louis University 65, Butler 61.

That’s nine consecutive victories for the Billikens. That’s four wins over ranked opponents this season. That’s a 3-0 record for SLU coach Jim Crews in his matchups against acclaimed young coaches Shaka Smart (VCU) and Brad Stevens (Butler.) With wins over No. 24 VCU and No. 15 Butler over a four-day span, we can say without hesitation that this was one of the greatest weeks in the history of the SLU program. This is a special team. This is a special season. This is a special story.

Welcome back to town, John Davidson. I don’t care what anybody says; Davidson played a major role in reviving the Blues franchise during his term as team president. If you need to be convinced, review the attendance history. Review the Blues’ record in Davidson’s first season here, and then compare that to the 109-point season his last year in St. Louis.

Someone in a position of authority has to explain why Rafael Furcal didn’t have surgery to repair a partially torn ligament. Maybe Furcal can provide the answer from his perspective. He’s being paid $7.5 million to play shortstop — or perhaps not play shortstop — for the Cardinals. The elbow is still a problem. It may be a serious problem. And I don’t understand the cavalier attitude that led to this stage.

Best wishes to native St. Louisan Joe Garagiola, proud son of The Hill, who is retiring from broadcasting after a 58-year career in the booth. Garagiola turned to broadcasting after his nine-year catching career, which included a stint (1946-51) with his hometown Cardinals. Garagiola gained national popularity with his sharp sense of humor during a 30-year run with NBC. It’s hard to believe that Joe is 87 years young. But he’s in good health, and there’s nothing wrong with his vocal cords.

Our condolences to family and friends of the late Friedel Geissert, who coached some of the great teams produced by the acclaimed Kutis soccer program in St. Louis. He died on Feb. 16, and his immense legacy includes a long list of friends and former players who had successful careers in college and the pros.

Congrats to St. Louisan Benjamin Hochman, who recently earned a prestigious APSE writing award for the fourth consecutive year. He covers the NBA Denver Nuggets for the Denver Post. … Kudos to the Maryville University men’s basketball team, which has set a program record with 22 victories (and counting) this season under head coach Kevin Carroll.

We’re happy to hear that former St. Louis (and Arizona) Cardinal wide receiver Roy “Jet Stream” Green is doing very well in his recovery from kidney-transplant surgery. Green, 55, has said he believes the kidney failure was caused by the anti-inflammatory medicine he took to relieve pain during his NFL career. Green received a kidney from his oldest daughter, Miyosha. The surgery took place Nov. 14, and Green is already back on the golf course in his favorite activity.

In a mock draft at NBADraft.net, St. Louisan Ben McLemore, a freshman guard at Kansas, is listed as the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. And Sikeston, Mo. native Otto Porter, a sophomore forward at Georgetown, is projected to go No. 7 overall.

In a related note: Hopefully Mizzou coach Frank Haith can do a better job that predecessor Mike Anderson in convincing prominent in-state recruits to stay home.

I think Mizzou wins at Kentucky tonight.

Bernie Miklasz is a columnist at the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on twitter @miklasz.

Bernie Miklasz is a sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.