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Arguably the most important piece of the Rams offense this year is continuity on the offensive line, particularly at the tackle position.
If Sam Bradford is going to have any success in the passing game, he is going to need solid protection up front.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Former number two overall pick (2009), Jason Smith was supposed to be entering his athletic prime. He was supposed to be on the verge of multiple Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections.
Instead, Smith is fighting for his spot as a starter, and he’s competing against a former sixth-round pick and Kansas City Chiefs castoff, Barry Richardson.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted (via stltoday.com) that Richardson reported to spring practice in May out of shape and had to adjust to a new offensive scheme and play-calling language and that Richardson himself is surprised at the recent starting role he’s being given.
However, head coach Jeff Fisher has announced repeatedly that the starting right tackle position is an open competition.
Yet neither player seems to want the job. Richardson committed a false start penalty in the exhibition game last Sunday at Indianapolis. Smith apparently can’t show enough in practice to earn the trust of the coaching staff.
Too many Rams players have too much riding on the success of the offensive line: a very green wide receiving corps, an aging star at running back and a $78 million investment at quarterback.