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    Barksdale Is Likely To Fill In For Hunter

    Barksdale is likely to fill in for Hunter

    14 hours ago BY KATHLEEN NELSON

    Wayne Hunter, who has started all four games at left tackle since Rodger Saffold suffered a knee injury, missed his third consecutive day of practice Friday because of a back injury and was listed as questionable for Sunday's home game against the Green Bay Packers.

    If Hunter can't play, the most logical option appears to be Joe Barksdale, who was claimed off waivers from Oakland on Sept. 27. The Raiders' third-round pick out of LSU in 2011, Barksdale was Oakland's sixth offensive lineman and was plugged in when a guard or tackle was lost to injury. He has yet to make a start in the NFL and has played on extra points and field goals for the Rams.

    Whoever starts at left tackle faces a formidable assignment, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, ranked second in the NFL with eight sacks.

    "This is the NFL. If you play left tackle, you'll be going against the best pass rusher on the team every week," Barksdale said, who added that he took extra reps against the Rams' defensive ends, Robert Quinn and Chris Long.

    "I had a great look from Sammy at outside linebacker," Barksdale said in reference to the practice squad's Sammy Brown, who portrayed Matthews, complete Wednesday with a cheap, blond wig.

    Did the wig help? "Yeah. It did," Barksdale said.

    Because he has been with the team a little more than three weeks, Barksdale has played catch-up by putting in extra hours of film study and with the playbook at Rams Park. Maybe too many, as evidenced by his eroding math skills.

    "Eight hours. Eight or nine hours. I'll come in around six and leave around six," Barksdale said. "Wait. Maybe 12 hours."

    Guard Shelley Smith, picked up on waivers in early September after two seasons with the Texans, corroborated Barksdale's story.

    "I've been right there with him, trying to put in some extra work, trying to get acquainted with the offense," Smith said. "You can easily lose track of time. Sometimes, it's a long day. It flies when you're having fun."

    Smith, who spent 2010 yo-yoing between Houston's regular roster and practice squad and last year on injured reserve, has been pushing Quinn Ojinnaka for playing time at left guard. Ojinnaka, by the way, was fined $7,875 for grabbing an opponent by the face in Sunday's loss to Miami.

    Alternate roads to the Dome

    Because of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, which starts and ends downtown Sunday, Rams fans could need alternate routes to the Edward Jones Dome. Roads in the immediate vicinity of the Edward Jones Dome will be open by 8:30 a.m., but access to the area will be trickier than usual. The Rams have encouraged fans to use the 11th and 6th street exits from Interstate 64 eastbound and the Stadium/Tucker exit from I-64 westbound in addition to all I-70 exits. Fans won't be able to drive north on Jefferson from I-64 because of the marathon's road closures.

    All roads will be reopened by 3 p.m., in time for a smooth return trip home.

    Injury report

    In addition to Hunter, wide receiver Danny Amendola (shoulder), linebacker Mario Haggan (thigh) and Saffold did not practice and are listed as out. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (knee) was listed as probable, though he practiced Thursday and Friday.

    Four Packers starters were listed as out: WR Greg Jennings (groin), LB Nick Perry (knee), DT B.J. Raji (ankle) and CB Sam Cheilds (shin, ankle). Green Bay also placed LB D.J. Smith on injured reserve this week, meaning the Packers will be missing four starters on defense against the Rams.


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    re: Barksdale Is Likely To Fill In For Hunter

    Whoever starts at left tackle faces a formidable assignment, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, ranked second in the NFL with eight sacks.
    Talk about bad timing to once again shuffle up things on an OL that was functioning reasonably well. How Matthews is handled is going to be a key factor in the game. We've been gettting solid line play when things could be a complete disaster, so I'm hoping for more of the minor miracles we've been getting on the merry-go-round that is our OL.

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