Saipaia changes positions again
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Mr. Versatility, Blaine Saipaia, has a new jersey number and yet another new position with the Rams.
Saipaia has played all five offensive line positions during practice, in the preseason and regular season. He started at right tackle against Arizona and Tennessee.
But this week, he will be wearing jersey No. 49 (instead of his usual No. 60) and playing tight end.
The Rams have placed Roland Williams on the injured-reserve list with a dislocated right knee, officially ending his season. Cameron Cleeland, who played with the Rams in 2003 and 2004, has signed with the club to fill Williams' spot. But with Brandon Manumaleuna's status still uncertain for the game against Seattle because of a sprained knee, Saipaia could help at tight end, at least as an in-line blocker.
Barron was bright spot
The play of rookie right tackle Alex Barron was one of the few bright spots in the Rams' 44-24 loss to the New York Giants.
"For his first performance," coach Mike Martz said, "to go against somebody like (Michael) Strahan, and then have the success and play as well as he did and keep his composure, I thought he was outstanding in this game. Which is comforting for us. Because I think under that kind of pressure, we've not had a guy yet step up to the plate and perform like that."
Strahan accounted for the Giants' only sack, but it didn't come against Barron.
"Things went OK," Barron said after the game. "I had some help from the guys. There were times when I was out there by myself and I had to anchor down and fight."
Barron said he wasn't too nervous the night before the game.
"I stayed in my room just focusing on certain things," Barron said.
He said he wasn't uptight Sunday morning before the game.
"I was just getting ready, preparing for the game," he said.
With Saipaia working at tight end, the Rams added offensive lineman Toby Cecil to the practice squad. Cecil was with the Rams throughout training camp and the preseason, and spent Week 1 of the regular season on the practice squad. Cornerback Duvol Thompson was released from the practice squad to make room for Cecil. ... Tight end Aaron Walker and strong safety Terreal Bierria worked out Tuesday at Rams Park. Defensive tackle Cedric Woodard received a physical. All three are street free agents, but no signing appears imminent with any of the three. The Rams routinely bring in unsigned players for workouts or medical exams on Tuesdays. ... Walker played in 32 games with six starts for San Francisco in 2003 and 2004. Bierria played with Seattle, the Rams' opponent Sunday, the past two seasons, starting 12 games last year. Woodard spent the previous four seasons with the Seahawks, starting 29 games the past two years.