Rams notebook: Jake Long ready to play Sunday

15 hours ago • By Joe Lyons

Left tackle Jake Long has completed his concussion protocol and went through a full practice Friday at Rams Park. He expects to play Sunday in Arizona against the Cardinals.

“Feeling really good,’’ Long said following practice. Arizona has a “tough defense, they’re playing good as a team and we’re playing at their place. It’s going to be a good game.’’

Long, who is listed as probable for Sunday, was hurt late in the third quarter of last weekend’s 23-13 loss in San Francisco when he bumped helmets with teammate Zac Stacy as both players tried to block blitzing *****’ saftety Donte Whitner.

“It was just a big collision in there and I was trying to step on the safety blitzing,’’ Long recalled. “I took a pretty good hit to the head, talked to the doctors and they took me out. But I’m feeling great now and ready to get back in there.’’

Also practicing Friday and listed as probable for Sunday are right guard Harvey Dahl (knee), defensive end Eugene Sims (neck) and linebacker Daren Bates (concussion). Dahl has not played since the Rams’ 14-9 loss to Seattle on Oct. 28.

Center Scott Wells (fibula) is out and rookie cornerback Brandon McGee (foot) is questionable. Neither player practiced Friday.

For Arizona, quarterback Carson Palmer hurt his right elbow during a sack early in last week’s 24-21 loss to Philadelphia and will be a game-time decision Sunday. He and tight end Rob Housler (ankle) were limited Friday and are listed as questionable.

The other starters on the Cardinals’ injury report — receiver Michael Floyd (ankle), tight end Jim Dray (back), and punter Dave Zastudil (ankle) — practiced Friday and are probable for Sunday.

AUBURN 38, MIZZOU 31?

That’s the prediction of Rams rookie linebacker and Auburn product Daren Bates when asked about today’s SEC championship came.

“You even gotta ask?’’ he said, showing off his Auburn letterman’s jacket and stocking cap. “Who is Mizzou? They can put up points; it’s just how their defense is going to stop our offense.’’

During the Rams’ bye week, Bates returned to Jordan-Hare Stadium to watch Tigers stun Georgia 43-38 on a Ricardo Louis miracle TD catch on a tipped pass with 25 seconds to play. Bates watched the Iron Bowl with teammates last weekend as the Tigers’ Chris Davis returned a field goal 100-plus yards as time expired in Auburn’s 34-28 miracle win over top-ranked Alabama.

“You can put this on record. I called that touchdown before it happened,’’ Bates said, getting confirmation from defensive end and fellow rookie Gerald Rivers.

“It’s been a crazy year; I thought 2010 (when the Cam Newton-led Tigers won the national title) was a miracle year, but this beats it. Hands down,’’ Bates continued. “It’s the same guys, just different coaches getting the guys they recruited to play (head coach Gus Malzahn’s) offense.’’

As you would expect, Rams center and Mizzou Tiger Tim Barnes expects a different outcome in Atlanta.

“I think we’ll win, but I’m not one for predicting scores,’’ said Barnes, who hopes to catch most of the game before Rams’ team meetings this evening. “It’s been a great year for us and I think everybody in Missouri is looking forward to this game. It’s pretty exciting to be playing for a championship and to control your own destiny at this point of the season.’’

DEBUT FOR BARRETT JONES?

With Barnes taking over for starter Wells at center, it would seem rookie center and guard Barrett Jones has a chance to see his first professional action in Arizona.

The Rams’ fourth-round draft choice in April, Jones won three national titles and was an All-American at three different positions in an award-winning career at the University of Alabama. But he has not been activated through 12 games with the Rams.

“I hope to dress and I’m really excited about it,’’ the 6-foot-4, 308-pound Jones said Friday. “It’s something I’ve been preparing for all year and hopefully I’ll finally get an opportunity to dress and help the team.

“I don’t think frustrating is the right word; it’s definitely been an adjustment. I have lot of growing to do — it’s a big jump from college to the NFL — but I’ve been working hard, doing the things I’m supposed to be doing and I feel like I’m on track to help the team in the future.’’

Jones won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman as a junior and the Rimington Trophy as the country’s top center last year. He finished up his Crimson Tide career with a major foot injury that required surgery and slowed his start with the Rams.

“It’ definitely didn’t help, not having a full offseason and having to play catch-up after missing OTAs, but I’m not blaming that,’’ the four-time academic All-American said. “I just needed to develop more and grow as a player. I’m excited. I can’t wait. I feel like I’ve improved a lot and if I get the opportunity on Sunday, I’ll be well-prepared and confident.’’

RAM-BLING

The NFL fined San Francisco guard Adam Snyder $7,875 for his late hit on Rams defensive end William Hayes after Frank Gore’s second-quarter touchdown last weekend.