Saffold might be able to play Sunday

15 hours ago • BY DAN O'NEILL

Don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of Rams fans mumbling the famous Jack Buck line on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome: "I don’t believe what I just saw."

Buck used the description while observing Kirk Gibson’s improbable home run in the 1988 World Series. Football fans might apply it to Rodger Saffold.

Five days after being immobilized and carried from Ford Field on a stretcher, No. 76 was popping shoulder pads and helmets with his defensive brethren at Rams Park on Friday. Officially, the Rams remain uncertain about Saffold’s availability for the game on Sunday with Washington. But his work Friday suggested anything is possible for the big left tackle.

"He was full practice today, so he’ll be listed as questionable for the game," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "He participated in everything today."

Saffold’s situation could mean everything to the Rams, whose offensive line has taken more blows than Rocky Balboa took in the six Rocky movies collectively. Along with Saffold’s harrowing injury last Sunday, the O-line has been O-verwhelmed, losing center Scott Wells to a fractured foot and losing rookie guard Rokevious Watkins to an ankle injury.

If needed, Wayne Hunter figures to start in Saffold’s place. Robert Turner will start at center in place of Wells, who has undergone surgery on his left foot and figures to miss at least half the season. Quinn Ojinnaka — the cut and un-cut version — also could be starting against the Redskins. The Rams activated center Tim Barnes (Missouri) on Friday to caddy for Turner. To make room for Barnes, the Rams released rookie cornerback Quinton Pointer.

You never want to put the offensive tackle before the horse, especially after Saffold’s scary neck injury at Detroit. But if he is able, it be will be manna from heaven.

"I’m feeling pretty good," Saffold, 24, said. "There’s always going to be a little soreness, but you’ve got to be able to tell the difference between being hurt and being injured. Right now, everything has just been on schedule as far as their work plan for me and throughout practice.

"I’m continuing to do a bunch of different things to help myself out, and right now we’re going to just leave it up to the trainers – because I’m always going to want to go out and play."

Linebacker switch

You can change socks, can change addresses and, if you are the Rams, change your Browns. The club has cut linebacker and seventh-round draft pick Aaron Brown (Miami), replacing him with undrafted rookie linebacker Sammy Brown (Houston). Brown was wearing Brown’s No. 57 at practice on Friday.

The Rams had Sammy Brown in camp before eventually cutting him. He was picked up by the Miami Dolphins and spent a week with the Dolphins before getting released. The Rams like his pass-rushing abilities and gobbled him back up. Now he’s back where he started.

"I was on the sidelines (last week for Miami)," Sammy Brown said. "I was active but I didn’t get to play. I practiced. I was on Reggie Bush every day, trying to do my best. But they cut me."

Brown had 28 tackles for loss last season, which led the nation. He was first-team All-Conference USA.

Injury report

As noted, Saffold is questionable with a neck injury. Defensive tackle Michael Brockers (ankle), defensive tackle Matt Conrath (knee) and Watkins (ankle) did not practice and are out. Tight end Mike McNeill was limited in participation with an ankle problem and is questionable.

For Washington, talented wide receiver Pierre Garcon had limited participation Friday and is questionable with a foot injury. Nose tackle Chris Backer (ankle) participated in a full practice, while safety Brandon Merriweather (knee) is out.