By Jim Thomas



PHOENIX, Ariz. • Make no mistake, signing Jake Long goes a long way toward shoring up the Rams’ offensive line.

“It’s a huge step for us,” coach Jeff Fisher said.

And now that Long is a Ram, the projected starting offensive line should read something like this:

Long at left tackle; Rokevious Watkins (or a player to be determined) at left guard; Scott Wells at center; Harvey Dahl at right guard; and Rodger Saffold at right tackle.

Keep in mind that it could be Shelley Smith at left guard or Robert Turner if he re-signs as an unrestricted free agent. But if Alabama’s Chance Warmack is available at No. 16 overall or even No. 22 — do the Rams take him and plug him in at left guard?

Or what if Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson unexpectedly drops to No. 16? Maybe the Rams take him, plug him in at right tackle and then tap Saffold on the shoulder and tell him he’s playing left guard.

Those are all possibilities. But Saffold, remember, was unhappy about a potential switch to right tackle, according to his agent, Alan Herman.

“It’s not an issue,” coach Jeff Fisher said Monday.

Herman could not be reached to comment Monday.

Officially, general manager Les Snead said the Rams haven’t decided who’s playing left or right tackle for the team next season. But it’s hard to imagine paying someone (Long) what could be $9 million a year and have him play anything but left tackle.

“We’ll sit down and discuss where’s the best fit for everyone,” Snead said. “Rodger’s started here as a right tackle. I think nowadays on the offensive line, no position punishes you financially. And you could even make a move and be better at a (different) position than you are now.

“So we’ll sit down and discuss that internally with the player and even his agent. But Rodger’s a team player and he’s young. If he comes in and consistently plays like he did at the end of last year, Rodger will be fine and we’ll be better.”