Posted: 23 Feb 2013

By Jim Thomas

INDIANAPOLIS • It’s nearly three months before the Rams do any full-squad practice work, but it looks very much like quarterback Austin Davis has been promoted.

Asked Friday about his plans at backup QB, coach Jeff Fisher said, “Well, we’ve got Austin Davis. I was really happy with his progress.”

Davis was signed last spring as an undrafted rookie from Southern Mississippi. He didn’t play all of last season and was on the pregame inactive list 15 times in 16 games. But Davis showed enough during preseason play, including pocket awareness, scrambling skills and throwing on the run, to impress the coaching staff.

“He’s got some ability,” Fisher said. “Still, there’s a possibility that we would bring Kellen (Clemens) back,” Fisher said. “Kellen’s an outstanding locker room guy and very competitive. If that were the case we’d probably flip things to where Austin would be (No.) 2, Kellen would be 3.”

Clemens is an unrestricted free agent.

ROK UPDATE

Fisher said offensive guard Rokevious Watkins is progressing nicely after a rookie year marred by weight and conditioning issues entering camp, followed by a severe ankle injury in the opener that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Once the season ended Fisher said the Rams encouraged Watkins to take some time off before getting back to business.

“He did. He came back. His rehab’s just about complete,” Fisher said. “His weight is significantly down, and he made a commitment to a program early in the offseason to get himself in a position where he can really compete. So I’m pleased with his progress thus far.”

SURGERY UPDATE

To veteran offensive line starters, right guard Harvey Dahl (biceps) and center Scott Wells (knee), continue their rehab work as they recover from operations.

“They’re doing fine,” Fisher said. “Scott is doing fine. Harvey and his wife just had a baby out on the West Coast so he’s been kind of back and forth, but his rehab is going well.”

As general manager Les Snead pointed out, the goal is to have both players ready for September, not the spring practices or training camp.

“It’s really more to have them primed and ready for opening day,” Snead said. “They’re veterans. We’ve got the same offense. For them to be there for the first OTA may not be the wisest thing to do.”

PAGING SHELDON?

Despite the presence of established starters Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford, Snead wouldn’t rule out the possibility of taking a defensive tackle in the first round.

“You can probably never have enough defensive tackles because if you’re gonna chase a QB around all day, the 300-plus pounders tend to get tired,” Snead said. “So it wouldn’t be inconceivable to (pick one).

“When you have a ‘rotation’ defensive line like we do, and you can win with the front seven, hey, if you can bring in your next guy — who’s fresh, who’s just as good as the guy who just left — yes.”

Makes you wonder what the Rams would do if University of Missouri (and Gateway Tech High) defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson were still on the board at No. 16 overall.

KEEPING TABS

With lots of free time during the offseason, many an NFL player can get himself in trouble this time of year. When the Rams drafted cornerback Janoris Jenkins last April, the team said it would take special measures to monitor him because of past off-the-field problems.

Obviously that’s easier said than done once the players scatter for the offseason. Even so, Fisher said, “We are in touch with him. We are in touch with all of our players, but we have gone out of our way to stay in touch with the younger players and keep them involved in different things. But ‘Jenks’ is doing fine so far.”

The topic was brought up to the entire squad at the final team meeting of 2012.

“They were threatened,” Fisher said, smiling. “It was about making the right decisions and taking care of yourself. Coming back and getting in the (offseason) program, and being in shape when you come back.