Rams notebook: Return of Dahl leads to line shuffling

2013-12-09T01:40:00Z 2013-12-30T08:19:23Z Rams notebook: Return of Dahl leads to line shufflingBy Jim Thomas jthomas@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8197 stltoday.com

GLENDALE, ARIZ. After 12 starts at right tackle, Joe Barksdale found himself on the bench against Arizona with the return of right guard Harvey Dahl.

After missing the previous four games with a knee injury, Dahl returned to the starting lineup at right guard. Rodger Saffold, who had started the previous three games there in place of Dahl, started at right tackle.

But the Rams ended up shuffling their personnel on the right side throughout the game, with Barksdale rotating in at right tackle. When that happened, Saffold slid inside to right guard, and Dahl was on the sideline.

“Generally speaking, we’re not going to demote a guy because of injury,” coach Jeff Fisher said, referring to Dahl. “We wanted to get Harvey an opportunity to play. He worked hard to come back.”

As for playing Saffold at both right guard and right tackle, Fisher said, “Our plan was not to bring Rodger out of the game. It was to let him play.”


Quarterback Kellen Clemens was slow getting up after getting flattened with 9½ minutes left in the game on a sack by Karlos Dansby. During the subsequent possession by Arizona, backup Austin Davis could be seen warming up on the sideline.

But Clemens returned to finish out the game, and Davis never got on the field.

“I got the wind knocked out of me a little bit and then they wanted to kind of assess me for a concussion,” Clemens said. “I passed, and I was confident I would pass. But I know being in Austin’s shoes, you don’t want to wait to start getting warmed up until they say, ‘He’s down.’

“There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I was gonna come back in. But I appreciated being evaluated and I know my wife does. Because that stuff’s scary.”


At the end of his 56-yard run on an end-around late in the third quarter, Tavon Austin suffered an ankle injury. He returned after the next Arizona series as a punt returner — on a play that resulted in a touchback. But the ankle continued to bother him, and he did not play the rest of the game.

The only other injury reported by Fisher after the game was an ankle injury to backup tight end and special teamer Mike McNeill.


There was one surprise among the Rams’ pregame inactives: offensive guard Shelley Smith, who had played in 11 of the team’s previous 12 games this season, including a Nov. 3 start against Tennessee. The other inactives were RB Daryl Richardson, CB Brandon McGee (foot), C Scott Wells (fibula), OT Mike Person, DT Jermelle Cudjo and DE Gerald Rivers.

Smith didn’t dress because the Rams needed a backup center behind starter Tim Barnes. That meant G/C Barrett Jones, the rookie from Alabama, was active for the first time as an NFL player.


Over 70 former Cardinals players and coaches, including more than a dozen from the franchise’s time in St. Louis, attended alumni weekend festivities. Among the former St. Louis Cardinals on hand was former head coach Jim Hanifan.

Others who were scheduled to attend from the team’s 28-season tenure in St. Louis (1960-87) were LB Mark Arneson, G/C Irv Goode, WR/DB Roy Green, QB Neil Lomax, RB Terry Metcalf, RB Johnny Roland, S Larry Wilson and DE Ron Yankowski.


• Arizona snapped a losing streak of eight games against NFC West opposition, dating back to its 2012 season opener.

• With Arizona QB Carson Palmer getting the ball out quickly, the Rams managed only one sack Sunday, matching their season low.

• Quarterback Sam Bradford, sporting a hobo-esque beard, accompanied the team to Arizona and watched from the sidelines Sunday.

• For only the second time this season, the roof was open at University of Phoenix Stadium. So that made it the third outdoor game for the Rams this season.

Follow Jim Thomas on twitter @jthom1

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